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Jul 30

2019

Custodial Power of Attorney and Standby Guardianship–Powerful Tools for Undocumented Immigrants with Children

The D.C. Council recently passed the “Standby Guardian Emergency Amendment Act of 2019,” which amends D.C. Code § 16-4801 to add adverse immigration action as a triggering event. We support any tool that will enhance the stability and dignity of our neighbors who hail from other countries and look forward to working with the Council on making this emergency amendment permanent. Read more →

Jul 12

2019

Legal Aid Honors Gilbert Associate Daniel Wolf for Outstanding Pro Bono Service

This week, Legal Aid honored Daniel Wolf, an associate with Gilbert LLP, with our Making Justice Real Pro Bono Award in recognition of Dan’s outstanding pro bono service to his clients and exemplary pro bono leadership at his firm. Legal Aid’s Executive Director Eric Angel and Jodi Feldman, who manages Legal Aid’s Pro Bono Program, presented the award at a reception with many of Dan’s colleagues in attendance. Read more →

Jul 03

2019

Legal Aid Stands With Immigrant Survivors of Domestic Violence Who Fear That Asking For Help Will Lead To Dire Consequences

It takes tremendous courage for any domestic violence survivor to make the daunting decision to seek legal recourse against their abuser. Pursuing a domestic violence Civil Protection Order (CPO) case means rearranging your personal, work, and childcare schedule to spend hours in court waiting to see a judge; it means summoning the emotional strength to testify against your abuser at trial; it means revealing, recounting, and reliving the worst moments of your life in a public courtroom, at the risk of not being believed. These reasons alone dissuade many survivors of violence from seeking justice, safety, and independence through the court system.

However, for undocumented immigrant survivors of abuse, a unique set of fears compounds the many reasons why victims of violence choose not to pursue legal protection from abuse. As the Washington Post recently reported, immigrant victims of violence are increasingly concerned that reporting their abuse to the police or the courts will expose their immigration status, lead to their arrest, and result in deportation. Such fears are understandable in the context of the nation’s current political climate, which is overtly hostile towards immigrants who lack legal status. According to U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), in 2018, the rate of immigration-related arrests grew by 11%, while the rate of deportation increased by 13%. Read more →

Jul 01

2019

Steptoe Launches Housing Law Fellowship at Legal Aid

The Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia is pleased to announce a new Housing Law Fellowship with the support of Steptoe & Johnson LLP.

The Steptoe Housing Law Fellowship will support Legal Aid’s Housing Law Unit, which works to prevent evictions, address dangerous housing conditions, and preserve affordable housing in the District. Unlike many other fellowships, the Steptoe Housing Law Fellowship will be open to applicants with experience, as well as recent law school graduates and judicial clerks. Read more →

Jun 27

2019

Legal Aid Honors Groom Law Group with Making Justice Real Pro Bono Award

Last week, Legal Aid honored Groom Law Group with our Making Justice Real Pro Bono Award, recognizing the firm for its outstanding pro bono collaboration and service. Legal Aid’s Executive Director Eric Angel and Jodi Feldman, who manages Legal Aid’s Pro Bono Program, presented the award to Ed Meehan, Groom’s Pro Bono Committee Chair, at a reception hosted by the firm. Read more →

Jun 13

2019

Legal Aid Opposes Alternate Measure of Poverty that Would Reduce Access to Safety Net Benefits

Yesterday, Legal Aid, the DC Fiscal Policy Institute and the Washington Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs submitted comments opposing a new approach to measuring poverty under consideration by the Trump Administration that could significantly reduce the number of families eligible for a wide range of safety net benefit programs. This “request for information,” which relates to how the federal poverty guidelines are updated each year, may appear quite technical at first glance. But adoption of the measure the Administration is contemplating could ultimately result in the denial of access to essential benefits like Medicaid and SNAP to millions of low-income individuals and families. As organizations dedicated to justice for low-income communities and communities of color, we oppose the adoption of a poverty measure that would artificially lower the poverty threshold and make countless vulnerable individuals and families ineligible for essential benefits. Read more →

Jun 06

2019

Legal Aid’s 2019 Generous Associate Campaign Kicks Off!

The 2019 Generous Associates Campaign kicked off with an inspiring reception at Kirkland & Ellis on Tuesday evening.

Joined by campaign coordinators, co-chairs, and Legal Aid staff, Honorary Chairs Susan Davies and Neil Eggleston gave rousing remarks to kick off what we hope will be another record-breaking campaign this summer. Read more →

May 31

2019

D.C. Superior Court Hearing Notice sine Latin Legal Jargon

On June 1, D.C. Superior Court is scheduled to roll out new “ex parte proof” hearing notices in response to a 2016 D.C. Court of Appeals’ opinion criticizing the court’s continued use of legal jargon.

It has been almost three years since the Court of Appeals issued its decision in Wylie v. Glenncrest, reversing and remanding an eviction case where the trial court declined to vacate a default judgment entered against an unrepresented tenant after her landlord told her she did not need to come back to court. Ms. Wylie had come to court on her first court date, where she met her landlord’s attorney. The two of them agreed to a one-month continuance. The landlord’s attorney later told Ms. Wylie that she did not need to return to court if she caught up on her payments and, so Ms. Wylie did not show up for the further initial hearing. Unbeknownst to Ms. Wylie, that hearing went forward, and a default was entered against her. The court then scheduled an “ex-parte proof” hearing. Read more →

May 16

2019

Proposed HUD Rule Forces Immigrant Families to Separate or Face Homelessness

In a move that members of Congress are calling “cruel,” “disturbing,” and “deeply flawed,” the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is proposing to deny federal housing assistance to immigrant families with a mix of citizen and non-citizen members. This change will effectively force thousands of immigrant families out of federal housing assistance programs—with no financial benefit to HUD and likely negative implications for millions of other U.S. citizens depending on HUD for assistance. Read more →

May 01

2019

Seven Honored, $1.5 Million Raised at 30th Annual Servant of Justice Awards Dinner

The Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia honored women’s rights icon Judy Lichtman, Akin Gump DC partner-in-charge Tony Pierce, client Tamika Hayes, and a team of associates from Hogan Lovells at the 30th Annual Servant of Justice Awards Dinner on Thursday, April 25 in Washington, DC.

More than 700 people attended the event, raising a record $1,518,650 to support Legal Aid’s mission. More than 100 law firms, corporate supporters, and philanthropists sponsored the Dinner, which has recognized those who have demonstrated “faithful dedication and remarkable achievement in ensuring that all persons have equal and meaningful access to justice” since 1990. Read more →