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Apr 08

2021

“40 at 50” Honorary Event Recognizes D.C. Pro Bono Leaders

Yesterday, the D.C. Circuit Judicial Conference Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services held the first-ever virtual “40 at 50” Pro Bono Event. The event recognized DC law firms for outstanding leadership in pro bono service. It honored firms that had at least 40% of their lawyers contribute at least 50 pro bono hours in years 2019 and/or 2020. Read more →

Mar 29

2021

Reflections of a Domestic Violence Attorney

More than a year ago, on March 13, 2020, our lives changed drastically. Seemingly overnight, stay-at-home orders were put in place and most of the country started working from home. Here, at the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, we quickly shifted our practice from an in-person office setting to a virtual one. In the Domestic Violence/Family Law Unit, we had to figure out how to provide our services to domestic violence survivors under our new normal. Read more →

Mar 26

2021

Longtime Legal Aid Pro Bono Volunteer David Reiser Receives 2021 William J. Brennan Jr. Award

Last week, the D.C. Bar announced plans to honor David Reiser of Zuckerman Spaeder with the 2021 William J. Brennan Jr. AwardThis award, bestowed upon members of the D.C. Bar whoexhibit “excellence, commitment, and dedication in the areas of civil rights, civil liberties, and the public interest,” is well deserved and reflects David’s substantial contributions to the pursuit of justice, equality, and the public good. Read more →

Mar 26

2021

USDA Withdraws Appeal in Legal Aid Lawsuit Challenging SNAP Rule

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (the USDA) withdrew its appeal of a decision last October from Judge Beryll Howell of the federal District Court of the District of Columbia vacating a USDA rule that would have cut off access to SNAP, otherwise known as food stamps, for nearly 700,000 Americans, including more than 13,000 DC residents. Legal Aid and Alston and Bird represented Bread for the City and two individual clients (Damon Smith and Geneva Tann) in a challenge to the rule that was combined with a similar suit filed by the District of Columbia on behalf of itself, nineteen states and New York City. Read more →

Mar 18

2021

Stop AAPI Hate

We at Legal Aid are horrified by the tragic violence in Georgia on Tuesday evening that stole the lives of eight individuals—six of whom are of Asian descent, and seven of whom are women. We mourn their loss and recommit ourselves to work that honors them and the countless other victims of race and gender-based violence.

These senseless killings take place at a time when we are witnessing a surge of hate crimes against Asian Americans throughout the United States. According to a recent report by Stop AAPI Hate, Asian Americans have reported roughly 3,800 incidents of hate-related acts since the pandemic struck. But the Atlanta shooter also targeted women, and in particular, women associated with an industry vulnerable to terror and abuse. This is consistent with another deeply troubling pattern: In the past year, Asian American women—too often hypersexualized and objectified in our culture—have disproportionately experienced hate-related harassment, bullying, abuse, and violence, at a rate 2.3 times that of Asian American men. Read more →

Mar 15

2021

Legal Aid Applauds the Passage of the American Rescue Plan Act Which Could Cut Child Poverty Rates in Half Nationwide and Lift Thousands of District Children Out of Poverty

On March 11, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act which will provide direct assistance to individuals and families (including a child allowance for low- and moderate-income families), continuation of unemployment benefits, funds to states and localities, and financial support for vaccinations and schools. Read more →

Mar 09

2021

Legal Aid Mourns the Passing of 2010 Servant of Justice Award Honoree Vernon E. Jordan Jr.

The Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia mourns the loss of 2010 Servant of Justice Award Honoree Vernon E. Jordan Jr, who spent his career as a civil-rights leader, lawyer, and adviser to President Clinton. He held leadership positions in many different civil-rights organizations and was influential in pushing for diversity in the corporate world, including within the legal profession.

For more on Mr. Jordan’s remarkable life and career, we refer you to obituaries published in the Washington Post and the New York Times. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family. Read more →

Mar 08

2021

New Hotline at OAH Provides Help to Pro Se Litigants

In the early months of the pandemic, the Office of Administrative Hearings Legal Assistance Network (OLAN) was created by four legal services organizations to address the legal needs of individuals representing themselves (also known as pro se litigants) before the D.C. Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH). The network includes Bread for the City, the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, Legal Counsel for the Elderly, and Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless. OLAN is a referral hotline that connects pro se litigants who have pending public benefits and shelter-related cases before OAH with free attorneys. Read more →

Feb 19

2021

2020 CAPITAL PRO BONO HONOR ROLL SUBMISSIONS DUE MARCH 15!

The pandemic has taken its toll on all of us. But since it first reached the District nearly a year ago, Legal Aid’s client community has been hit the hardest. And as stay-at-home orders were issued and schools and workplaces shut down across the city, our neighbors struggled to both stay safe and make ends meet. Unemployment claims skyrocketed, domestic violence surged, and housing and food insecurity rose sharply. Never has Legal Aid faced such profound challenges.

That is why we are so grateful to the hundreds of attorneys throughout the city who took on pro bono cases in 2020, helping clients secure critical safety-net benefits, navigate complex custody disputes exacerbated by the pandemic, ensure that landlords made needed repairs, and more. Read more →

Feb 18

2021

Critical Foreclosure Prevention Program Reopens for District Homeowners

The DC Housing Finance Agency (HFA) has recently announced the reopening of HomeSaver, a foreclosure prevention program that provides payment assistance to DC homeowners who are behind on their mortgage or other housing-related payments. For qualified homeowners, HomeSaver provides up to $60,000 in lump-sum catch-up assistance and/or ongoing monthly payment assistance. Homeowners may qualify if they experienced an eligible hardship, and are either (1) unemployed or underemployed and no more than 16 months behind on their payments, or (2) able to afford their regular monthly payments going forward but need help paying arrears.

Homeowners should apply now, as funds are limited and applications will only be accepted through May 14. Read more →