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Jan 22

2021

Former Legal Aider Curt D. Campbell, Jr. Selected as an Administrative Law Judge

We are delighted to announce that Curt D. Campbell, Jr., former Senior Staff Attorney in the Public Benefits Unit, has become an Administrative Law Judge in the District of Columbia Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH).  At OAH, Curt will hear cases involving public space, rent control, professional and business licenses, building, health and fire code violations, and public benefits such as SNAP (Food Stamps), Medicaid and Unemployment Insurance.

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Jan 08

2021

Volunteering with Legal Aid During a Pandemic

My name is Alison DeSilva. I’m the owner and founder of DeSilva Studios, a DMV-Area-based pet & family photography studio. Given my background, my connection to Legal Aid probably seems unlikely. But when they reached out to me in August 2020 (through a friend of mine who supports Legal Aid) to see if I could help them with their annual report photography project, I jumped at the opportunity. Here’s my story and how helping Legal Aid’s mission became so important to me:
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Dec 28

2020

COVID Relief Is Finally Coming: While Not Nearly Enough, Recent Federal Legislation Provides Support and Protections for Our Client Community

The Coronavirus Response And Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2020 (the COVID relief legislation just passed by Congress and signed by the President) will provide some much-needed assistance in areas of importance to our client community.  Legal Aid is pleased that our clients (most of whom are Black and Brown, and have therefore disproportionately suffered from the economic and health burdens of this pandemic) will finally receive some relief from the federal government after far too many months of inaction and additional delays in recent days leading to the loss of unemployment benefits for millions nationwide.

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Dec 18

2020

Last Chance To File – Federal Unemployment Benefits End on December 26

As coronavirus cases surge across the country and many workplaces remain closed, the U.S. Congress has failed to extend critical benefits for unemployed workers. In fact, approximately 39,000 unemployment recipients in the District will lose all benefits the day after Christmas.

As we wrote earlier this year, unemployment compensation is a critical safety net for jobless workers. It can allow District workers to pay for basic necessities – such as food, shelter, and medical care – and avoid falling into poverty. There is no cash assistance alternative to unemployment compensation. Legal Aid urgently calls upon Congress to extend these essential benefits and encourages District workers to act now to take advantage of these programs before they expire (see below). Read more →

Dec 11

2020

Action Needed to Stop Ice Detentions at DC Courthouse

Within a week, the District’s immigrant community may finally get permanent protection against ICE detention after contact with local law enforcement. On December 15, 2020, the DC Council is scheduled to vote on the Sanctuary Values Act, which would make permanent an emergency law passed in 2019. If passed, this law could lift some of the terror our immigrant neighbors and their families have faced for many years. Read more →

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 →