Oct 22


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


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


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


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


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 →

Sep 13


Legal Aid Celebrates Launch of Its Immigrants’ Rights Legal Services Project at Carlos Rosario Public Charter School

Yesterday, Legal Aid officially launched its new Immigrants’ Rights Legal Services Project with an outreach event at the Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School. There, Legal Aid staff met with scores of individuals from the District’s vibrant immigrant community not only to celebrate the formal kick-off of its new Project, but also to announce its exciting partnership with the school. Read more →

Aug 28


Federal Court Permits Class Action Lawsuit Alleging Unlawful Food Stamps Processing Delays To Proceed

Last week, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia denied, in large part, a motion to dismiss a class action lawsuit against the DC Department of Human Services (DHS). The lawsuit, Garnett et. al v. Zeilinger, filed by Legal Aid, NCLEJ, and Hogan Lovells on behalf of a group of DC residents and Bread for the City in August 2017, alleges that the District fails to timely process applications and recertifications for SNAP benefits, also known as food stamps. The unlawful delays in processing applications have often resulted in low-income residents being left unable to afford the food they need. Read more →

Aug 27


Social Security Disability Forum on Electronic Medical Records Presents Hopeful Future But Fails to Address Grim Present

Think about your last doctor’s visit. Maybe it was an annual checkup, or perhaps you had a pervasive case of the Mondays. How did that conversation go? Were you able to bring up everything that ails you? Every symptom? Or were you interrupted in the first eleven seconds, handed a prescription or follow up appointment card, and sent on your way? If you’re in the latter group, don’t take it personally. You may be in the unfortunate company of 67% patients who were cut off by their doctor in the span of reading this sentence, according to a recent study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. Read more →

Aug 08


Long Lines Persist at DC Safety Net Program Centers

This post was written by 2018 Legal Aid summer interns Tracey Zhang, David Wasserstein, Jenny Jiao, and Shelby Ferguson

Among the most illuminating experiences we had during our internship this summer was the opportunity to make early morning visits to the Department of Human Services (DHS) Service Centers to gather data about the lines of residents waiting outside. The District’s most vulnerable residents wait in line at DHS Service Centers to secure access to vital safety net benefits such as food stamps, health insurance, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Residents can be turned away once Service Centers reach capacity, and therefore often get in line long before sunrise. They must wait outside, even in the summer heat or bitter cold of winter. Many of the waiting customers are elderly, living with disabilities, or accompanied by young children, factors that make long waits even more difficult.

Read more →

Aug 02


Generous Associates Campaign Shatters Record, Raises $2.15 Million for Legal Aid

Back in May when we sat down with our Co-Chairs to set the goal for this year’s Campaign, and we decided on a cool $2 million, we did it with the understanding that it was ambitious, and that we were comfortable with the possibility that we were misjudging how much we could raise. Well, we did misjudge it:

Friends, you have gone beyond our wildest expectations and raised $2.150 million for Legal Aid!!! Read more →