Making Justice Real

The Official Blog of the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia

Jul 31

2015

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Study Confirms Free Legal Services Critical for Domestic Violence Survivors

A report released last week and discussed in a recent compelling Huffington Post article entitled, “One Simple Idea that Could Reduce Domestic Violence,” highlights the importance of free legal representation for DV survivors. Prepared by the Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University School of Law, the report found that survivors of domestic violence who have legal representation when they seek protection orders against their abusers are significantly more likely to get the protection orders than unrepresented survivors. Notably, the report recommends that state and municipalities provide free or low cost legal services to survivors of domestic violence.
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Jul 15

2015

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DC Bar Foundation Funds Barbara McDowell Appellate Project, General Operations

Legal Aid is grateful that it has once again received funding from the DC Bar Foundation to help support our general operations as well as our nationally-recognized Barbara McDowell Appellate Advocacy Project, which was established over a decade ago (with seed money from the Foundation) to provide an important new resource to our client population and the local legal services community. The project builds on the individual representation that is at the heart of our work, allowing us to handle appeals on matters that have the potential to set precedent that will positively impact large numbers of people living in poverty in the District. Read more →

Jul 09

2015

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Legal Aid Testifies in Favor of Two Key D.C. Council Bills

Last week, Legal Aid testified in support of two different bills that provide additional legal protections to particularly vulnerable subsets of our client community. The first bill—the Language Access for Education Amendment Act of 2015—adds, among other improvements to the original Act, a private right of action so that people who are limited English proficient and suffer violations of Language Access Act can enforce their rights in court. The second bill—the Elderly and Tenants with Disabilities Protection Amendment Act of 2015—improves existing rent control laws for tenants that are elderly or have a disability, helping them to stay in their rent-controlled homes in a difficult rental housing market. Read more →

Jul 06

2015

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Legal Aid and Wiley Rein Obtain Favorable Ruling in Class Action Lawsuit

Legal Aid is one step closer to obtaining relief for thousands of tenants in the District, thanks to a June 2015 ruling by Judge James Boasberg of the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia.

In October 2014, Legal Aid – together with co-counsel Theodore Howard and Bonnie Thompson Wise at Wiley Rein – filed a class action lawsuit in federal district court, Lipscomb v. The Raddatz Law Firm, on behalf of four named individuals against a District-based law firm. The lawsuit alleges that The Raddatz Law Firm P.L.L.C. and its attorneys engage in the unlawful practice of filing complaints on behalf of landlords in D.C. Superior Court that contain false information about the status of the tenants’ federally-subsidized rental properties, in violation of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Read more →

Jun 26

2015

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Three Landmark Decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark decision this morning and two extremely important rulings yesterday that are relevant to Legal Aid’s clients and client community.

In the first, Obergefell v. Hodges, the Court held that states must recognize lawful same-sex marriages performed in other states. The 5-4 decision overturned an earlier Sixth Circuit decision holding that states that did not allow same sex marriages were not required to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples performed in states where such marriages are lawful. Justice Anthony Kennedy authored the majority opinion and was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan. Read more →