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Apr 21


In One Week: Legal Aid Will Honor Thomas S. Williamson, Jr.

In one week, on Thursday, April 28, 2016, Legal Aid will present our highest honor – the Servant of Justice Award – to Thomas S. Williamson, Jr. of Covington & Burling LLP. This award will be presented by Covington’s Eric H. Holder, Jr.

Williamson_Thomas_300 greyscaleTom Williamson is a senior counsel at Covington & Burling. His areas of expertise include employment law, complex litigation, and health and welfare law matters for state governments.

Mr. Williamson was the Solicitor of Labor at the U.S. Department of Labor from 1993 to 1996. He served as Deputy Inspector General for the then-newly formed U.S. Department of Energy from 1978 to 1981. In 2003 he played a key role in developing the National Football League’s “Rooney Rule,” designed to promote increased opportunities for minorities to become head coaches in the NFL. Read more →

Apr 19


Just 8 days until Legal Aid Honors Marian Wright Edelman

Tickets are still available for our dinner this coming Thursday, April 28, 2016.   Legal Aid will present our highest honor – the Servant of Justice Award – to Marian Wright Edelman, Founder and President of the Childrens’ Defense Fund (CDF). This award will be presented by the Honorable Patricia M. Wald, retired Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

MWEHeadShot-224x325Mrs. Edelman has been an advocate for disadvantaged Americans for her entire professional life. Under her leadership, the CDF has become the nation’s strongest voice for children and families. The CDF’s Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start, and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. Read more →

Apr 18


Former Legal Aid Loaned Associate Eve Runyon Named PBI President/CEO

Legal Aid is happy to congratulate Eve Runyon on being named President and CEO of the Pro Bono Institute (PBI).  Eve succeeds Esther Lardent, who founded PBI and held the roles of President and CEO for 19 years before stepping down for health reasons in 2015.  Ms. Lardent passed away earlier this month.

Esther Lardent left an extraordinary legacy, but Eve herself is poised to make important contributions to the pro bono world.  For those who do not know her, Eve’s background is impressive.  A graduate of the University of Virginia and Yale Law School, Eve joined Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP, in 1998, serving at the firm for almost seven years.  In 2002, she came to Legal Aid as a “loaned associate” working on a wide range of important poverty law matters. Eve left Skadden to join PBI in 2005, serving for almost ten years as the Director of Corporate Pro Bono, PBI’s partnership project with the Association of Corporate Counsel. Read more →

Apr 07


A Call to Action – Washington Post Op-Ed Co-Authored by Legal Aid’s Chinh Le

Earlier this week, Chinh Le, our Legal Director, authored a blog post about the release of an unprecedented and humbling report on the struggles of D.C. residents living in and on the cusp of poverty. Yesterday, the Washington Post ran an op-ed that he co-authored with Rochanda Hiligh-Thomas, the Director of Legal Services & Advocacy at Advocates for Justice in Education, in their capacities as the Co-Chairs of the D.C. Consortium of Legal Services Providers. In it, Rochanda and Chinh urge us to seize upon the momentum that this report is generating to influence the D.C. Council and the Mayor—as they engage in the budgeting process and determine which programs to support and expand, and which programs to contract or eliminate—to consider the needs of our most vulnerable neighbors. Legal Aid intends to be a part of those conversations, and we invite you to join us. If any of us needed to be reminded of the formidable obstacles and challenges low-income individuals and families face every day, this report provides that reminder, and it does so through the voices of the individuals and families themselves. It is a call to action. We must answer it.

Feb 12


Legal Aid Published in UDC Law Review

Legal Aid attorneys Meridel Bulle-Vu, Tianna Gibbs, and Ashley McDowell recently co-authored an article titled, “Developments in Family Law in the District of Columbia: Three Significant Legislative Changes for Child Support,” published in the Spring 2015 issue (Volume 18, Number 2) of the UDC Law Review. The article provides an overview of three critical changes to District law in the past ten years: 1) the enactment of a statute that requires criminal sentencing judges to notify obligors of their right to modify or suspend their child support orders during periods of incarceration; 2) the passage of a law requiring the District government to distribute the first $150 of child support collected each month to custodial parents who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); and 3) major revisions to the District’s Child Support Guideline, the statutory scheme governing how child support orders are calculated.
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Jan 12


Chinh Le in the New York Times

Legal Director Chinh Le, who frequently blogs for us here at Making Justice Real, crafted an interesting piece for the New York Times Motherlode blog. We thought readers of our blog might be interested.

Nov 23


Kirkland Highlights Legal Aid Partnership in Pro Bono Video; Project Moves to SE

Last month, Kirkland & Ellis featured its historic partnership with Legal Aid in a video the firm produced in recognition of National Pro Bono Week. The collaboration dates back to April 2013, when Legal Aid first opened the doors to a then-new intake site in Southwest DC, located at Friendship Baptist Church.

Legal Aid’s expansion into Southwest was made possible as a result of an extraordinary, multi-year donation that Legal Aid received from Kirkland, which allowed Legal Aid to reach low-income residents who may otherwise have had difficulty accessing legal services. In addition to providing financial support to Legal Aid, Kirkland attorneys and legal assistants staffed the site twice a week under Legal Aid’s management, providing advice and representation to clients needing legal assistance. Since the project first started, Kirkland volunteers have conducted hundreds of intakes and handled dozens of Legal Aid pro bono matters. Read more →

Nov 20


Legal Aid Development Director Hosts National Capital Philanthropy Day Event; Legal Aid Honors Mayer Brown’s Ken Klein and Jones Day

Wednesday, November 17th, was National Capital Philanthropy Day – a day dedicated to recognizing and honoring the many philanthropic individuals and organizations that, ultimately, make the non-profit sector’s work in and around Washington, D.C. possible. It was also the 50th anniversary of the D.C. Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP-DC), which made the night especially meaningful to members and donors alike. AFP-DC has been led by Legal Aid’s own Director of Development, Gregg Kelley, for the past year. Read more →

Oct 28


Legal Aid Public Benefits Attorney Receives DCPCA “Champion of Change” Award

Yesterday, October 27, 2015, the D.C. Primary Care Association honored Legal Aid Supervising Attorney Jennifer Mezey with its “Champion of Change” Award. The head of Legal Aid’s Public Benefits Law Unit, Jennifer was recognized for her extraordinary leadership on health care access for low-income D.C. residents. Jennifer’s tireless advocacy on behalf of Legal Aid’s clients, combined with her extensive knowledge of local and federal benefits law, make her a true force to be reckoned with when it comes to ensuring that the District’s health programs work effectively for the people who need them most.

In addition to zealously representing her own clients, and providing leadership and support for the other attorneys in the public benefits unit, Jennifer has been active in organizing coalitions to advocate for systemic solutions to problems identified in individual health-related cases. In 2014, for example, she played a key role in the issuance of a joint report by Legal Aid and the DC Fiscal Policy Institute—which was later incorporated into March 2015 joint testimony to the D.C. Council—demonstrating that low-income D.C. residents continue to face significant barriers to health care coverage and access as a result of management failures at the District agencies tasked with implementing the Affordable Care Act. Read more →

Oct 02


Miller & Chevalier Wins Generous Associates Campaign CulinAerie Cooking Competition — Again!

Update (October 9, 2015): The CulinAire Cooking Competition was covered in Bisnow.

Nick Metcalf (captain), Mike Chittenden, Theresa Androff, Sarah Dowd, Lisandra Ortiz

Nick Metcalf (captain), Mike Chittenden, Theresa Androff, Sarah Dowd, Lisandra Ortiz

On October 1, the gastronome attorneys from Miller & Chevalier held on to their title, winning Legal Aid’s third-annual Generous Associates Campaign CulinAerie Cooking Competition, besting eight other competitors in a hard-fought battle at CulinAerie, a recreational cooking school in downtown DC. The event was graciously hosted and generously sponsored by CulinAerie co-founder Susan Holt, who was also the emcee of the evening, setting for the ground rules for the competition.
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