Making Justice Real

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

Legal Aid Names 2014 Servant of Justice and Klepper Award Honorees

Today Legal Aid announced that the recipients of the 2014 Servant of Justice Award, its highest honor, will be Barbara McDowell (posthumously), the Founding Director of Legal Aid’s Appellate Advocacy Project, and Donald P. Salzman, Pro Bono Counsel in the Washington, D.C. office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. Legal Aid also is pleased to announce that this year’s recipient of the Klepper Prize for Volunteer Excellence will be Stefanie A. Doebler, Special Counsel at Covington & Burling LLP.

Barbara, Don, and Stefanie will be honored at Legal Aid’s annual Servant of Justice Awards Dinner, which will be held on April 29, 2014 at the JW Marriott Hotel in Washington, D.C. This year’s dinner will be particularly special, as it marks both the twenty-fifth anniversary of this important community event and the tenth anniversary of the establishment of Legal Aid’s nationally- recognized Barbara McDowell Appellate Advocacy Project.

Our first honoree, Barbara McDowell, was a hero to those who had the privilege of knowing her. A brilliant brief writer and oral advocate, Barbara chose to use her extraordinary talents on behalf of the most vulnerable among us when she joined Legal Aid in 2004 to establish an appellate advocacy project that pursues an affirmative anti-poverty law agenda before the District’s highest court. Since the Project’s inception, Barbara and others at Legal Aid have litigated precedent-setting poverty law cases, helping thousands of D.C. residents. Before joining Legal Aid she was a partner at Jones Day and an Assistant to the Solicitor General of the United States, in which role she argued eighteen cases before the Supreme Court of the United States.

From 2004 until her untimely passing in 2009, Barbara handled more than seventy matters at Legal Aid and won important cases establishing the rights of low-income individuals and families in the areas of housing, public benefits, consumer, and family law. Barbara’s life-long friend, Professor Sally Gordon, the Arlin M. Adams Professor of Constitutional Law and Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, will present the award. Jerry Hartman, who was Barbara’s devoted husband, will accept the award on her behalf.

The second honoree, Don Salzman, is also well-known to the D.C. legal community. He coordinates the pro bono efforts of the nearly three hundred attorneys in Skadden’s D.C. office. Don directly supervises many Skadden associates on their pro bono work, and spends a substantial amount of time representing indigent clients on civil and criminal cases in D.C. and other jurisdictions. Prior to joining Skadden, he spent nearly fifteen years in the Montgomery County Office of the Public Defender, where he tried more than sixty-five felony jury trials and countless misdemeanor cases.

Since joining Skadden, Don has emerged as a leader in both civil and criminal access-to-justice issues in the District. Don has played a critical role in many collaborations with Legal Aid, including Skadden’s loaned associate program—in which Skadden lawyers spend six months at Legal Aid working full-time representing Legal Aid clients on housing law cases—as well as Skadden’s Pro Bono Children & Families Impact Project—a unique partnership between Skadden, D.C.-based legal services groups, and in-house corporate legal departments helping survivors of domestic violence achieve justice in the D.C. Courts. Skadden Partner and Impact Project leader Michele Roberts will present the award to Don.

Klepper Prize honoree Stefanie Doebler of Covington & Burling LLP has been participating in Legal Aid’s annual Medicare Part D Initiative since its inception. For over seven years, including this past open season in November and December 2013, she has helped many senior and disabled clients navigate the complex Medicare Part D system to ensure that they continue to receive their prescription medications without interruption. Stefanie truly stands out because of her long-standing commitment to this project, the quality of her work, and her exceptional skill and willingness to work with clients who are most in need of help.

We hope you will join us for the Servant of Justice Awards Dinner on April 29, 2014, when we will be celebrating and honoring these three individuals. For information about how to sponsor and/or attend this year’s dinner, please email Legal Aid’s Development Director, Gregg Kelley, or contact him by phone at (202) 661-5964.

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