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Nov 16

2018

New DC Rules to Affect the Provision of Legal Services

The DC Court of Appeals issued two orders earlier this month that will likely have a significant effect on the provision of civil legal services in the District of Columbia. The rules changes that were announced in the orders, which go into effect January 1, 2019, enjoyed the broad support of the DC Access to Justice Commission, the DC Consortium of Legal Services Providers, and the Washington Council of Lawyers, among others. Read more →

Nov 09

2018

So-Called “Eviction with Dignity Act” Lacks Critical Tenant Protections

On Tuesday, the DC Council will hold a first vote on the Eviction with Dignity Act of 2018. We urge Councilmembers not to support the legislation without first making critical changes.

Since May of this year, Legal Aid, along with many of our colleagues in the legal services community, has been actively working with representatives of housing providers and members of DC Council on much-needed reforms to the eviction process. As my colleague Damon King wrote in July, our efforts suffered a setback when emergency legislation was put into place that lacked critical protections for the District’s most vulnerable tenants.  Legal Aid testified on September 24 about the serious need for revisions to the legislation before it became permanent, and many of the councilmembers appeared receptive to those concerns. Read more →

Oct 29

2018

Domestic Violence Awareness: The Effects of Financial Abuse

Every October, people wear purple to increase awareness about the prevalence of domestic violence and show solidarity with survivors. Domestic Violence Awareness Month increases education about the prevalence of domestic violence, common indicators of abusive relationships, and resources for survivors of domestic violence. While many people are familiar with the controlling patterns of physical and emotional abuse associated with domestic violence, you may be surprised to learn that 99% of victims of domestic violence experience financial abuse. Read more →

Oct 26

2018

Legal Aid Staff Attorney June Lee Receives “Allies in Justice” Award

Last night, Legal Aid Staff Attorney June Lee was honored by the Asian/Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project with its Allies in Justice Award. June was recognized for her work and partnership with DVRP in offering client-centered legal support and representation to survivors of domestic violence, particularly those of Asian descent. Her co-recipient was Amritha Narasimhan, a long-time DVRP and community volunteer. Read more →

Oct 24

2018

Legal Aid Honors Jason Knott of Zuckerman Spaeder

Yesterday, at our Generous Associates Campaign and Pro Bono Volunteer Celebration, Legal Aid honored Jason Knott of Zuckerman Spaeder with our Making Justice Real Pro Bono Award. This award recognizes attorneys who have provided outstanding pro bono service through individual representation and/or leadership in facilitating such representation by their colleagues. Read more →

Oct 22

2018

DC Housing Right to Counsel Project Thanks and Honors Volunteers

A DC resident living in the Columbia Heights neighborhood was worried about the eviction case pending against her. But her pro bono attorneys filed a motion for summary judgment and promptly got the landlord to dismiss the suit. The tenant later noted, “It’s important to have a lawyer with you because the landlords have lawyers. There are things about the legal system I just don’t know.” Read more →

Oct 10

2018

Legal Aid Recognizes Domestic Violence Awareness Month

In the opening days of Domestic Violence Awareness Month this year, the Nation has watched closely as the Senate was presented with allegations by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford accusing recently confirmed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault. Whatever one’s political persuasion, the public discourse surrounding these allegations carries monumental consequences for the future of the Supreme Court. However for those of us representing domestic violence survivors, the handling of Dr. Ford’s allegations – especially the recent rhetoric deriding Dr. Ford’s memory gaps and hesitancy in reporting the assault to law enforcement – presents a critical moment in and of itself. We fear that this type of rhetoric will have the real-word impact of chilling survivors from coming forward, empowering abusers, and perpetuating a pattern of violence in many homes and families. Read more →

Oct 01

2018

DC Pro Bono Week Coming Soon – Join the Celebration!

Each fall, as part of the annual National Pro Bono Celebration, the Washington Council of Lawyers and others organize DC Pro Bono Week. This year, DC Pro Bono Week 2018 takes place from October 21–27 and offers many opportunities to do pro bono work, learn new pro bono skills, meet other pro bono lawyers, and expand your pro bono horizons. Read more →

Sep 24

2018

Proposed “Public Charge” Rules Harm Immigrant Families

This past weekend, the Trump Administration expanded its attack on immigrant communities by threatening access to basic safety net programs including food stamps (SNAP), Medicaid and Section 8 Housing Vouchers. In a draft posted on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) website, the Trump Administration proposes to change the rules governing “public charge,” which determine how receipt of public benefits might impact an individual or family’s admissibility to the United States or ability to become a lawful permanent resident. The Administration’s purported rationale for this proposed rule change is to “promote immigrant self-sufficiency and protect finite resources by ensuring that [immigrants] are not likely to become burdens on American taxpayers.” Legal Aid joins hundreds of legal services and civil rights organizations throughout the country in opposing these draconian changes that not only target will harm the most vulnerable individuals and families in our communities but also harm society as a whole – especially socially and economically. Read more →

Sep 21

2018

Protections Secured for DC Government Employees

Earlier this month, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals issued a decision in a case that provides an important clarification for District employees. The opinion makes clear that the District cannot fire an employee, thereby economically forcing the employee to start receiving payments from his retirement annuity, and then assert that the receipt of those payments prevents the employee from challenging the firing. Read more →