Making Justice Real

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

Apr 21

2022

The Connection Between Health and Wealth: Recent Report Highlights the Impact of Medical Debt on Black Families

A recent report from the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) examines the racial health and wealth gaps and highlights the impact of medical debt on Black families. The report provides a sobering explanation of how disparities in healthcare and medical debt are a result of underlying, pervasive racial inequality. Unfortunately, these issues and impacts are all too familiar to District residents and Legal Aid’s client community. Read more →

Mar 04

2022

Legal Aid Announces its First Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Legal Aid is excited to welcome Patrick Orciani as our first Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI). Patrick, who has many years of experience doing DEI work, will assist us in advancing our mission to ensure that DEI is part of the fabric of Legal Aid.

Prior to joining Legal Aid, Patrick worked for the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, where he also served as their Director of DEI. With almost twenty years of experience in the public and private sectors, thirteen of those years with consulting firm Guidehouse, Patrick has helped to create change within organizations by creating and implementing DEI best practices. Read more →

Feb 16

2022

An Unemployment Victory for One Client Could Mean Fewer Hurdles for Many More Moving Forward

On February 3, 2022, the District Columbia Court of Appeals released its opinion in Young v. District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES), awarding unemployment benefits to Legal Aid client Ashley Young. The central issue in the case was whether DOES could deny back benefits to Ms. Young after she failed to respond to an email (which she never received) asking her to fill out a quality control questionnaire. Much later, when Ms. Young found out about the questionnaire, she filled it out and began to receive benefits going forward, but DOES refused to give her payments for the time before she filled out the questionnaire. Read more →

Feb 03

2022

ENROLLMENT IS OPEN FOR THE 2021 CAPITAL PRO BONO HONOR ROLL!

Did you provide at least 50 hours of pro bono service in 2021? If so, we encourage you to submit your information to be included on the Capital Pro Bono Honor Roll. Applications are due on Friday, February 25, 2022, so submit your application today!

Recognizing the vital role that private and government attorneys play in providing pro bono services to those who cannot afford counsel, the Chief Judges of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals and the Superior Court of the District of Columbia have announced that applications are now being accepted for the 2021 Capital Pro Bono Honor Roll. Supported by the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center and the D.C. Access to Justice Commission, the Capital Pro Bono Honor Roll pays tribute to the thousands of D.C. Bar members and attorneys practicing under D.C. Court of Appeals Rule 49 who provide desperately needed free legal services to those living in poverty and/or to the disadvantaged small businesses and community-based non-profits that are critical to the economic well-being of our community. Read more →

Feb 01

2022

Remembering Volunteer Staff Attorney Jim Springer

Legal Aid was saddened to learn of the passing of James VanR. Springer, who died on January 26, 2022. Jim served as a Volunteer Staff Attorney at Legal Aid for eight years, helping countless DC residents and mentoring dozens of junior Legal Aid attorneys. In 2012, he was honored with Legal Aid’s Servant of Justice Award for his faithful dedication and remarkable achievement in ensuring that all people have equal and meaningful access to justice, joining the ranks of Vernon Jordan, Eric Holder, Janet Reno, Charles Horsky, and many others. Read more →