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Written by Aaron Pope

Jul 14

2021

D.C. Council Votes Unanimously to Pass Emergency Bill Updating District’s Outdated Debt Collection Law

Yesterday, the D.C. Council voted unanimously to pass new emergency debt collection legislation —  introduced by Chairman Mendelson and DC Attorney General Racine — implementing much-needed updates to the District’s debt collection law to protect DC consumers. 

Among other changes, the Protecting Consumers from Unjust Debt Collection Practices Emergency Amendment Act of 2021 updates and strengthens the District’s existing law by: 

  • Expanding its scope to apply broadly to consumer debts, including finally applying to credit card debt and medical debt (the law was initially drafted fifty years ago and had become largely obsolete, failing to cover most modern-day forms of consumer debt) 
  • Protecting broadly against unfairness and harassment of consumers in the debt collection process, both in and out of court 
  • Requiring collectors to have adequate information and documentation to substantiate the debts they collect 
  • Creating a universal three-year statute of limitations for all covered debts, and protecting consumers from the harms of “zombie” debt collection (revival of old debt obligations) 
  • Building in enforcement mechanisms like a private right of action, and subjecting debt collectors’ lawsuits to dismissal for failure to comply 

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Jul 07

2021

The Family Law Assistance Network reaches 1,000 referrals!

The Family Law Assistance Network (FLAN)–a partnership between Legal Aid, The D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center, and the D.C. Affordable Law Firm– has reached a milestone of 1,000 referrals since its start in March 2020.  

The FLAN was first conceptualized in early 2019, when attorneys from the partner organizations collaborated to create a court-based program to provide same-day advice and representation for litigants with cases in the Domestic Relations Branch (DRB) of D.C. Superior Court. Many other branches, like the Parentage and Child Support Branch and the Domestic Violence Division, already offered similar services, so the attorneys saw a need that was not being met. 

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Jul 02

2021

Attorney General Restores Asylum Law Protections For Survivors Of Violence

Legal Aid clients seek asylum and refuge in the United States for highly personal and compelling reasons. Some were targeted with severe violence, persecution, and torture based on their gender and/or status as part of the LGBTQ+ community. Others may have been attacked and threatened with death by powerful gangs because of who their family members are. We are thrilled that Attorney General Merrick Garland took an important first step last week towards undoing some of the Trump administration’s relentless attacks on asylum law by overturning biased and xenophobic rulings from former Attorneys General Sessions and Barr in cases called Matter of A-B- and Matter of L-E-A-. These cases made sweeping generalizations attempted to close the door to protection for everyone fleeing gang violence, domestic abuse, or harm based on gender. Read more →