Written by Adam Jacobs

Jan 24


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 →

Nov 14


Prescription Drug Plan Enrollment Assistance Available Through December 5

Oh the weather outside is frightful, but prescription drug plans are so delightful…

The holiday season is fast approaching, and at Legal Aid that means it’s time for Medicare Part D open enrollment. For the eleventh year in a row, Legal Aid and Whitman-Walker Health are hosting walk-in clinics for Medicare Part D recipients to enroll in 2018 prescription drug plans. Read more →

Oct 05


Fake News Targets Child Support

One of Legal Aid’s very own practice areas has become the subject of a widespread “fake news” story. Last month, articles and posts began circulating on social media, informing readers that child support would be ending in 2018. One article – which has been shared over 50,000 times on Facebook – claimed that Congress and the current administration were working to pass a law which would prevent parents from being ordered to pay support. Another article included a purported quote from President Trump, and reported that custodial parents have been protesting outside the White House. Read more →

Jul 26


Legal Aid’s Interns Listen and Learn from Justice Ginsburg

Eleven law and undergraduate student interns are spending their summer with us here at Legal Aid, and earlier this week they had the rare opportunity to listen and learn from the Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, at the Washington Council of Lawyer’s (WCL) annual Summer Pro Bono and Public Interest Forum and luncheon. Read more →

Jul 17


“D.C.” Does Not Stand for “Debt Collection”: Legal Aid Pushes for Better Protections Against Debt Collection Abuses

Dealing with debt collectors has become a widespread problem for consumers both locally and across the nation. Based on an extensive survey of D.C. residents published in 2016, almost half of low-income residents reported problems with debt—and of the survey participants with debt-related problems, the most common problem cited (31%) was receiving calls from debt collectors. Moreover, in the first-ever national survey of consumer experiences with debt collectors, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that 27% of consumers contacted by debt collectors felt threatened, 53% of consumers said at least one collection effort was mistaken in some way, and one in seven consumers contacted about a debt reported being sued. Read more →

Jul 10


Pro Bono “Masters” Share Their Wisdom

“What do you find most compelling about defending tenants in eviction cases?”

Pro bono “masters” led an engaging discussion in response to this question and many others at the Housing Right to Counsel Project’s first-ever Pro Bono Masters Panel held on June 29, 2017 at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. Read more →

Apr 05


Legal Aid’s Public Benefits Team Urges Agency Accountability at D.C. Council Oversight Hearings

As part of Legal Aid’s continuing systemic advocacy efforts, members of our Public Benefits Unit testified last month on the performance of four D.C. agencies which directly impact the lives of thousands of District residents, including hundreds of Legal Aid clients, every year: the Department of Human Services, the Department of Health Care Finance, the Department of Employment Services, and the Office of Administrative Hearings. Read more →

Feb 27


Legal Aid Mourns the Passing of 2016 Servant of Justice Honoree Thomas S. Williamson, Jr.

Late last weWilliamson_Thomas_300 greyscaleek, Thomas S. Williamson, Jr., Senior Counsel at Covington & Burling LLP and 2016 Servant of Justice Honoree, passed away.

Tom had a truly extraordinary public interest and private law firm career. From 2012 to 2013, Tom held the office of President of the D.C. Bar. Tom also served on the board of the D.C. Bar Foundation, the D.C. Judicial Nominations Commission, and the D.C. Access to Justice Commission. Read more →

Feb 10


New DC Appellate Decision Clarifies Tenants’ Legal Rights

On January 20, the D.C. Court of Appeals issued its mandate in Smith v. Greenway Apartments, No. 15-CV-954, an important case Legal Aid had handled at the trial and appellate stages that clarifies when a tenant can make a claim against a landlord alleging housing code violations.

This appeal involved an eviction action alleging nonpayment of rent in January 2015.  The landlord’s latest complaint was just one in a series of eviction actions it had filed against Ms. Smith, without success.  One of those earlier actions alleged nonpayment of rent during two months in 2012 and was resolved through a consent judgment.  Another such action alleged nonpayment of rent during two months in 2013 and was resolved through a judgment by confession.  Ms. Smith, like the vast majority of tenants in D.C., did not have counsel in these earlier cases. Read more →

Feb 06


Article Highlights Exploitation of Tenants with Housing Vouchers

A recent article in the Washington City Paper highlights a growing problem in the District: landlords are exploiting city funds by renting apartments with unlawful housing conditions to low income individuals with government subsidized housing vouchers. In a city where the supply of decent, safe, and affordable housing is steadily disappearing, residents with housing vouchers are left with few choices. Landlords know this. They also know that if they rent to these often desperate individuals, they can get a steady stream of income each month from the government, without having to ensure that their apartments comply with the housing code. Read more →