Making Justice Real

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

Jan 26

2018

2017 Generous Associates Campaign Cooking Competition Champions: Williams & Connolly!

Ten law firm teams once again sizzled in the kitchen at CulinAerie during Legal Aid’s 5th Annual Generous Associates Campaign Cooking Competition. Susan Holt, Co-Founder of CulinAerie, graciously hosted the event and emceed the evening, unveiling this year’s secret ingredient: Cherries! Read more →

Jan 24

2018

Court Rules Change Makes It More Likely Tenants Will Seek Repairs

The D.C. Superior Court has made a much-needed change to rules that apply in eviction actions. Effective November 21, 2017, tenants are no longer subject to money judgments just because they raise the defenses of recoupment and set-off based on housing code violations, or because they ask the Court to order their landlords to make repairs. Read more →

Jan 22

2018

How A Government Shutdown Hurts Low-Wage Employees

With the federal government under a shut down today, much of the focus has remained fixed on the political battles, spin, and determining “winners” and “losers.” But there are very real human costs here that we cannot overlook. Legal Aid stands with members of immigrant communities whose lives continue to be in limbo, even with today’s short-term spending bill. We also want to take a moment to acknowledge further populations that are affected negatively by federal dysfunction. Read more →

Jan 10

2018

D.C. Increases Weekly Unemployment Benefits

The District announced this week that it has increased the maximum weekly benefit amount from $425 to $432.

This modest increase is the result of a big change in how the District calculates benefits. For more than 10 years, the maximum benefit rate stagnated at $359 per week, one of the lowest in the country. In 2016, a coalition of unemployed workers, union representatives, and advocates – including Legal Aid – petitioned the D.C. Council for an increase in benefits. Our efforts led to significant changes, including an increase in the maximum benefit from $359 to $425 per week, and a requirement that the Department of Employment Services review the maximum benefit each year. Read more →

Dec 18

2017

It’s Time to End the Paradoxical Punishment of License Suspensions

Imagine learning one day that the DMV has suspended your license because you’ve been unable to pay a several thousand dollar civil judgment. You had hoped to save enough to pay this court debt but, as a low-income worker, you often struggle to put food on the table for your family and keep the lights on. You’re now in a tough bind. If you rely on your car to get to work, run errands, take your children to the doctor, etc., you now have to choose between driving illegally or losing your job and becoming unable to care for your family. If you don’t rely on a car to get to work, it may be difficult to find and maintain the rare job that will hire you without a valid license. Either way, the result of this punitive debt collection practice is that you’ll likely struggle to make ends meet and find it even more difficult to pay the original debt that caused this problem. Read more →