Making Justice Real

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

Nov 16

2020

Legal Aid Receives Record $750,000 Donation from Amazon to Expand COVID-19 Response

Amazon has donated $750,000 to immediately help the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia support the surge of families and individuals facing urgent legal needs amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Funding will help Legal Aid hire new legal staff to provide legal assistance for scores more DC residents facing legal problems related to the pandemic, including eviction, foreclosure, debt, unemployment, and more.

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Nov 12

2020

DC Bar Foundation to Honor Beth Mellen with the Scoutt Prize

This week, Legal Aid’s Beth Mellen, a Supervising Attorney in the Housing Law Unit and the Director of Legal Aid’s Eviction Defense Project, will be honored by the DC Bar Foundation with the Scoutt Prize for her skills as “a fierce courtroom advocate, a compassionate client advisor, a dedicated mentor to younger lawyers, a skilled manager, and an accomplished leader of housing policy reform.”

During Beth’s fifteen years as a Legal Aid attorney, she has been a dedicated advocate for housing rights across the District. Her knowledge of local and federal housing law, combined with her advocacy skills, has preserved safe, affordable housing for hundreds of residents in DC.

“For years, Beth has been a fierce, thoughtful, effective advocate for tenants in the District of Columbia. This is an incredibly well-deserved recognition,” says Eric Angel, Executive Director of Legal Aid. Read more →

Oct 28

2020

Announcing a New Social Justice Fund & Award Benefitting Legal Aid

We are excited to announce that Mark Poerio, Davis & Harman, Ifrah Law, and The Wagner Law Group have joined together to create the Social Justice Fund & Award, benefitting Legal Aid!

This award will highlight an individual or organization that has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to advancing social justice, while also supporting Legal Aid’s mission of making justice real, in individual and systemic ways, across DC.

Mark Poerio was inspired to create the Fund & Award after winning the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel Simplification Award in September.

“I wanted my award to have a similar meaning….in some ways to ‘pay forward’ what I won,” Mark told us. “Legal Aid is poised to help the most vulnerable in our area, both through services and advocacy. I hope many hear the word and step forward to help too.” Read more →

Oct 27

2020

Pro Bono Goes Local Event Kicks Off DC Pro Bono Week

This year’s Pro Bono Goes Local kickoff celebration marking the start of DC Pro Bono Week was held on Monday, October 26. The event is an opportunity to gather the legal community together to celebrate pro bono service and emphasize the importance of directing that service locally to help District residents in need of representation in our local courts. DC Pro Bono Week is organized each year by the Washington Council of Lawyers (WCL) and a committee of pro bono professionals representing legal services organizations, law firms, and law schools from around the city.

This year’s Pro Bono Goes Local virtual program was moderated by WCL’s Executive Director Nancy Lopez. Chief Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby of the D.C. Court of Appeals and Chief Judge Anita Josey-Herring of the D.C. Superior Court provided opening remarks where they extended their gratitude to those who have handled local pro cases and emphasized that now more than ever- due in part to the challenges that DC residents are experiencing as a result of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic- DC residents need pro bono attorneys. Read more →

Oct 22

2020

Social Security Administration Agrees To Return Up To $30 Million In Wrongly Confiscated Tax Refunds

Legal Aid announced a settlement with the Social Security Administration (SSA) this week that could help tens of thousands of Americans obtain forgiveness of approximately $30 million in debts allegedly owed to Social Security.

“Tens of thousands of people have waited more than five years for a resolution, so we are delighted to reach a comprehensive settlement in this matter that will hopefully provide some measure of relief for them, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Eric Angel, Executive Director of Legal Aid. Read more →