Making Justice Real

The Official Blog of the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia

Oct 23


Citywide Housing Right to Counsel Project Celebrates Its Volunteers and Impact

Peter Edelman, Chairman of the D.C. Access to Justice Commission, and Jim Sandman, President of the Legal Services Corporation – two visionaries in the access to justice movement – beamed as they looked across a room filled with nearly 80 committed pro bono volunteers and supporters at the Housing Right to Counsel Celebration Breakfast hosted by Steptoe & Johnson LLP last week. Several years ago, Peter and Jim approached about a dozen managing partners from major law firms with a bold request: to join an ambitious initiative aimed at tackling D.C.’s housing crisis. A key component of the initiative was an experiment to make a civil right to counsel a reality for low-income tenants with housing subsidies who are facing eviction proceedings. Read more →

Oct 18


Legal Aid’s Beth Harrison Receives Housing Justice Award

Last Friday evening, the National Housing Law Project bestowed its 2017 Housing Justice Award on Legal Aid Supervising Attorney Beth Mellen Harrison. NHLP’s Housing Justice Award recognizes a “new and impressive talent in the field of affordable housing and low-income housing rights” and is given annually to “an energetic and unstoppable activist . . . who is fearlessly and successfully tackling the systemic and often hostile obstacles that stand in the way of safe, decent and affordable housing for low-income and marginalized people.” Read more →

Oct 10


D.C. Pro Bono Week Coming Soon – October 22-28!

D.C. Pro Bono Week 2017 is slated for October 22-28 and will be full of opportunities to learn more about D.C.’s public interest community and get involved with pro bono service.

Each fall, the Washington Council of Lawyers sponsors D.C. Pro Bono Week as part of the American Bar Association’s annual National Pro Bono Celebration. D.C. Pro Bono Week reflects this city’s robust pro bono community, celebrates pro bono contributions, and works to expand pro bono service. Read more →

Oct 05


Fake News Targets Child Support

One of Legal Aid’s very own practice areas has become the subject of a widespread “fake news” story. Last month, articles and posts began circulating on social media, informing readers that child support would be ending in 2018. One article – which has been shared over 50,000 times on Facebook – claimed that Congress and the current administration were working to pass a law which would prevent parents from being ordered to pay support. Another article included a purported quote from President Trump, and reported that custodial parents have been protesting outside the White House. Read more →

Oct 03


Legal Aid and Partners Collaborate to Obtain Substantial Relief for Tenants at Terrace Manor

Last week, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Columbia approved a settlement in the matter of Terrace Manor LLC that will compensate tenants who endured severe housing code violations for years while ensuring that they will finally have access to the safe and habitable housing they deserve. Eleven tenants represented by Legal Aid will receive a substantial financial benefit totaling almost $360,000 for their years of suffering and for costs including repair bills, storage units and compensation for belongings damaged by mold and flooding. Importantly, the tenants will also receive ongoing rent protections, immediate relocation to safe housing, and the right to return to a rehabilitated Terrace Manor that will have renewed covenants ensuring it remains affordable for not just these but future tenants as well. Read more →