Daniel M. Clark of DC Law Students in Court to Receive 2019 Scoutt Prize

[District of Columbia, March 20, 2019] – The District of Columbia Bar Foundation (DCBF) has selected Daniel M. Clark as the recipient of the 2019 Jerrold Scoutt Prize. Mr. Clark is the Director of DC Law Students in Court’s (LSIC) Civil Division and Co-Director of their Eviction Defense Services.

The Scoutt Prize is awarded annually to an attorney who has worked for a significant portion of his or her career at a nonprofit organization providing direct, hands-on legal services to poor or disadvantaged persons in the District of Columbia, has demonstrated compassionate concern for his or her clients, and has exhibited a high degree of skill on their behalf.

As Director of Law Students in Court’s Civil Division, Mr. Clark has expanded the organization’s services to several thousand more individuals, in part by offering services that other organizations do not. For example, Mr. Clark increased the operating hours of LSIC’s Eviction Defense Services Office– located at the DC Superior Court– which is now open any time court is in session, as well as Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings. LSIC’s Executive Director Moses Cook stated in his nomination of Mr. Clark: “Without his leadership I can safely say that LSIC would not be the organization it is today.”

Mr. Clark has dedicated over 20 years to DC’s legal aid community, serving our underrepresented neighbors, while teaching and mentoring the next generation of legal aid attorneys. He began his career working on behalf of the DC Bar Pro Bono Center. After serving as a staff attorney with AARP Foundation Litigation, he returned to the DC Bar Pro Bono Center to supervise their Bankruptcy Clinic and Landlord Tenant Resource Center. From 2011 to 2013, Mr. Clark was an instructor and Supervising Attorney at the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law. He joined DC Law Students in Court in 2013. Mr. Clark has a B.A. from the University of Florida, a J.D. from American University Washington College of Law, and a L.L.M. from the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law.

The Jerrold Scoutt Prize was endowed by the Washington, DC firm of Zuckert, Scoutt & Rasenberger, and is named in honor of Jerrold Scoutt, Jr., a founding partner of the firm, in recognition of Mr. Scoutt’s and the firm’s long-term support of legal services. Zuckert, Scoutt & Rasenberger recently merged with Kaplan, Massamillo & Andrews, forming KMA Zuckert LLC. The DC Bar Foundation’s Scoutt Prize Committee is chaired by DCBF Advisory Committee member Seth A. Rosenthal of Venable LLP. Says Mr. Rosenthal of Mr. Clark, “Dan is a great lawyer who has spent nearly a quarter of a century working in the trenches to make a difference in the lives of District residents in need, particularly those who find themselves in landlord-tenant court. He represents the best of our profession.” The DC Bar Foundation will present the 2019 Jerrold Scoutt Prize during its 2019 Fall Reception, generously hosted each year by Alston & Bird LLP. This year’s reception is on October 10.

About the DC Bar Foundation: For DC residents in poverty, we make strategic investments to strengthen and expand our civil legal aid network, addressing critical needs and improving our community. As the largest funder of civil legal aid in the District, we are a steadfast community partner, committed to protecting access to justice in life’s most pivotal moments.

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$9 Million Awarded for Free Legal Assistance in DC

District of Columbia, December 20, 2018 – The DC Bar Foundation awarded $9 million to 26 DC legal aid organizations providing free legal assistance to thousands of low-income DC residents.

“This funding is going to make a significant and measurable impact in the lives of underserved residents of the District,” stated Kirra L. Jarratt, Executive Director of the DC Bar Foundation. “For someone who cannot afford to hire a lawyer themselves, having legal counsel can make all the difference in terms of the outcome of their case. We’re talking about keeping people in their homes, parents maintaining custody of their children, and our neighbors not having to make the difficult choice between buying groceries or traveling downtown to seek legal assistance.”

The DC Bar Foundation supports DC legal aid organizations working on a spectrum of civil legal issues, including housing, employment, immigration, domestic violence, access to public benefits, and consumer law, as well as family and disability law. One of the primary goals of this round of grants is to make legal services more accessible to those who need them the most.

The majority of the funding is intended to benefit DC residents living in the most underserved areas of the city, specifically Wards 5, 7, and 8. These grants will maintain court-based as well as community-based offices. Both types of offices serve as critical points of access for low-income DC residents. The Foundation is also proud to support a range of collaborative projects such as a shared legal interpreter bank and a coordinated intake and referral network for victims of crime.

The $9 million in grants is comprised of three funding streams. Two of the funding streams are appropriations from the Council of the District of Columbia through a grant from the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants. The third funding stream is private fundraising and revenue from the DC Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Account Program.

To read about the impact the DC Bar Foundation is having across the District, please visit www.dcbarfoundation.org.

About the DC Bar Foundation: For DC residents in poverty, we make strategic investments to strengthen and expand our civil legal aid network, addressing critical needs and improving our community. As the leading funder of civil legal aid in the District, we are a steadfast community partner, committed to protecting access to justice in life’s most pivotal moments.

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DC Bar Foundation Seeks Nominations for 2019 Scoutt Prize

WASHINGTON, DC – The DC Bar Foundation is seeking nominations for the 2019 Jerrold Scoutt Prize, which is awarded annually to an exceptional legal services attorney in the District of Columbia. Nominations will be accepted until February 1, 2019. The Scoutt Prize will be presented during the DC Bar Foundation’s 2019 Fall Reception, generously hosted each year by Alston & Bird LLP.

The Scoutt Prize recognizes outstanding lawyers who work full time, or have spent much of their careers working full time, at DC nonprofits providing direct, hands-on legal services to the poor or disadvantaged in our community. We encourage you to nominate attorneys who have not only demonstrated a high degree of skill in representing their clients, but who have also demonstrated a high degree of compassion.

Zuckert, Scoutt & Rasenberger LLP established the Scoutt Prize in 1993 in honor of founding partner Jerrold Scoutt Jr. The firm continues to provide an award of $2,500 annually, and since its creation, 28 outstanding public interest attorneys have been recognized. In 2018, Philip Fornaci, Project Director of the DC Prisoners’ Project with the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, was honored for his career-long dedication and commitment to advocacy.

Nominations made for the 2017 and 2018 prize will be reconsidered. Those who submitted nominations in those years are encouraged to update their nomination materials.

How to submit your nomination:

Nominations must include a cover letter and the nominee’s curriculum vitae. Supporting materials, like articles of interest or letters of support, are highly encouraged.

Please send nominations and supporting materials by 5:00 p.m. on February 1, 2019 to: info@dcbarfoundation.org.

The DC Bar Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization established in 1977, is the largest funder of civil legal services in the District. The Foundation’s mission is to fund, support, and improve legal representation of the poor, vulnerable, and otherwise disadvantaged in the District of Columbia, and it is committed to the vision that residents of the District have equal access to justice, regardless of income. The Foundation provides grants, training, and technical assistance to local non-profit legal services organizations and awards loans to DC poverty lawyers to help with their educational debts.

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DC BAR FOUNDATION INVESTS NEARLY $1.5 MILLION IN HOUSING IN THE DISTRICT

Today, the DC Bar Foundation is pleased to announce that it has awarded $1,455,500 to DC organizations that provide free legal assistance to low-income DC residents on housing-related cases. This is in addition to the housing-related grants the Foundation currently funds, bringing the total amount invested in legal assistance for housing-related matters to nearly $5 million in 2018.

Two appropriations from the Council of the District of Columbia make up this $1.5 million: the Civil Legal Counsel Projects Program and the Access to Justice Grants Program, established by the Expanding Access to Justice Act of 2017 and the Access to Justice Act of 2007, respectively.

Under the Civil Legal Counsel Projects Program, the Foundation awarded five grants, totaling $940,500. This new funding will add 15 new attorneys to the legal aid network who represent low-income DC residents in eviction cases, helping alleviate a power imbalance in eviction court where 90% of the landlords are represented, compared to just 10% of tenants. It is projected that 66% of those receiving assistance with these funds will reside in Wards 5, 7, and 8. With more than 30,000 eviction cases filed every year in court, this additional funding will provide much needed legal assistance to low-income DC residents.

The Foundation awarded $515,000 in additional funding under the Access to Justice Grants Program to ten projects. While the focus of each project varies, all projects work to preserve affordable housing in the District. For example, one new project will assist families in housing conditions cases, where tenants are helped in obtaining housing repairs from the landlord for things like fixing the air conditioning unit or eliminating mold that may be negatively affecting a child’s health. Several organizations will collaborate on building-wide cases that involve housing conditions, barring notices, zoning, rent control, and housing discrimination. This additional funding will greatly assist the efforts of DC’s legal aid community to combat the disappearance of nearly half of DC’s affordable housing over the past ten years.

To view a complete list of the Foundation’s grantees, visit www.dcbarfoundation.org.

About the DC Bar Foundation: For DC residents in poverty, we make strategic investments to strengthen and expand our civil legal aid network, addressing critical needs and improving our community. As the largest funder of civil legal aid in the District, we are a steadfast community partner, committed to protecting access to justice in life’s most pivotal moments.

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Young Lawyers Network Leadership Council Calls For Applications

Washington, DC – The DC Bar Foundation seeks applications for new members of its Young Lawyers Network Leadership Council (YLN LC). Applications for two-year terms expiring September 30, 2020 are due by 5:00 p.m. on August 3, 2018.

The YLN LC offers younger attorneys an opportunity to further the goal of access to justice in our community by working with the DC Bar Foundation—the leading private funder of civil legal aid for the District’s poor and underserved. Members of the YLN LC serve as ambassadors who promote the Foundation’s mission and programs by engaging in regular meetings, grantee site visits, and quarterly networking dinners. The group is also actively involved in the organization’s fundraising efforts, through hosting an annual event that provides critical support to low-income DC residents in need of legal representation.

To qualify for consideration, individuals must be members of the District of Columbia Bar in good standing, under the age of 40 at the start of their term, either live or work in the District of Columbia, and commit to carrying out the responsibilities of the YLN LC. Staff of LRAP-eligible employers, or of organizations eligible to receive funding from the DC Bar Foundation, are ineligible for membership.

Interested applicants should submit a completed application form, résumé, letter of interest, and up to two letters of support that speak to their commitment to advance the District’s civil legal services network. Please send all materials to Meghna Taneja, Development and Communications Assistant, at taneja@dcbarfoundation.org. It is also important to include “Young Lawyers Network Leadership Council, [Your Full Name]” in the subject line of the email. Additional information about the YLN LC is available on the Foundation’s website at www.dcbarfoundation.org.

Download application materials here.

 About the DC Bar Foundation: For DC residents in poverty, we make strategic investments to strengthen and expand our civil legal aid network, addressing critical needs and improving our community. As the largest funder of civil legal aid in the District, we are a steadfast community partner, committed to protecting access to justice in life’s most pivotal moments.

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Philip Fornaci of Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights & Urban Affairs to Receive 2018 Scoutt Prize

Washington, DC – The District of Columbia Bar Foundation (DCBF) has selected Philip Fornaci as the recipient of the 2018 Jerrold Scoutt Prize. Mr. Fornaci is the Project Director of the DC Prisoners’ Project with the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.

The Scoutt Prize is awarded annually to an attorney who has worked for a significant portion of his or her career at a nonprofit organization providing direct, hands-on legal services to poor or disadvantaged persons in the District of Columbia, has demonstrated compassionate concern for his or her clients, and has exhibited a high degree of skill on their behalf.

As the Project Director for the DC Prisoners’ Project, Mr. Fornaci works to protect the rights of the more than 1,200 prisoners that the Project serves each year. In his nomination, Jonathan M. Smith, Executive Director of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee, said: “Philip has dedicated his career working for equal justice, against discrimination, and to ensure that every human being is treated with respect and dignity.” Mr. Smith also referred to Mr. Fornaci as “an exceptional, highly skilled, and compassionate attorney.”

Mr. Fornaci has played an instrumental role in DC’s legal aid community for over 25 years, beginning his career working on behalf of HIV/AIDS patients at Whitman-Walker Health Legal Clinic for seven years. In 2003, he served as Executive Director of the DC Prisoners’ Legal Services Project for three years and continued as director of the project for seven years, once it merged with Washington Lawyers’ Committee. In 2016, he served as Executive Director of the DC Employment Justice Center and re-joined Washington Lawyers’ Committee in 2017 as Project Director for the DC Prisoners’ Project. Mr. Fornaci is a graduate of Columbia University and The George Washington University Law School.

The Scoutt Prize, endowed by the Washington, DC firm of Zuckert, Scoutt, & Rasenberger LLP, is named in honor of Jerrold Scoutt, Jr., a founding partner of the firm, in recognition of Mr. Scoutt’s and the firm’s long-term support of legal services. The DC Bar Foundation’s Scoutt Prize Committee is chaired by DCBF Advisory Committee member Seth A. Rosenthal of Venable LLP. The DC Bar Foundation will present the 2018 Jerrold Scoutt Prize during the DC Bar’s Judicial Reception on Thursday, April 19, 2018.

 About the DC Bar Foundation: For DC residents in poverty, we make strategic investments to strengthen and expand our civil legal aid network, addressing critical needs and improving our community. As the largest funder of civil legal aid in the District, we are a steadfast community partner, committed to protecting access to justice in life’s most pivotal moments.

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ADDITIONAL $7 MILLION AVAILABLE FOR HOUSING-RELATED MATTERS

Washington, DC – Today, the DC Bar Foundation is pleased to announce that it will award an additional $7 million in 2018 to legal aid organizations in DC focused on preserving affordable housing, defending low-income tenants in eviction cases, and assisting low-income DC residents in other housing-related legal issues. This is in addition to the $6.7 million that the Foundation already awarded for 2018, which was announced in a press release dated December 8, 2017.

This additional funding will greatly assist the legal efforts led by DC’s legal aid community to combat the disappearance of nearly half of DC’s affordable housing over the past ten years. Two appropriations from the Council of the District of Columbia make up this $7 million: the Expanding Access to Justice Act of 2017, which created the Civil Legal Counsel Projects Program, and the Access to Justice Grants Program, established by the Access to Justice Act of 2007. The two grant programs are managed by the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants, with the DC Bar Foundation as the designated administrator for both programs.

Under the Civil Legal Counsel Projects Program, the Foundation will award approximately $5 million strictly for eviction defense in Landlord-Tenant Court, where about 30,000 cases are filed annually. In this court, it is estimated that 90 percent of landlords are represented, but 90 percent of tenants are unrepresented. With the funding, the legal aid community hopes to reduce wrongful eviction and keep low-income tenants in their homes, preserving the small number of affordable units remaining in the District.

The remaining $2 million is available through the Access to Justice Grants Program. These funds will be awarded to legal aid organizations working on more broad housing issues, such as matters involving housing conditions, unlawful rent increases, the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA), and the redevelopment of public housing, to name a few.

With the combination of these grant programs, the Foundation hopes to their leverage funds to create a coordinated effort among legal aid organizations to tackle one of the most pressing issues facing the District and its ability to be a thriving, diverse, and inclusive community.

The application to apply for funds will be released in late winter 2018 and will be due early spring 2018. The grant year will begin July 1, 2018. For more information and updates, please visit the DC Bar Foundation’s website at www.dcbarfoundation.org.

About the DC Bar Foundation: For DC residents in poverty, we make strategic investments to strengthen and expand our civil legal aid network, addressing critical needs and improving our community. As the largest funder of civil legal aid in the District, we are a steadfast community partner, committed to protecting access to justice in life’s most pivotal moments.

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MORE THAN $6.7 MILLION AWARDED FOR FREE LEGAL ASSISTANCE IN DC

Washington, DC – The DC Bar Foundation awarded more than $6.7 million to 27 DC legal aid organizations providing free legal assistance to low-income DC residents in a wide array of civil legal issues in 2018.

“The funding we provide to these legal aid organizations is vital to ensuring justice for all DC residents, regardless of income,” stated Paul Smith, Board President of the DC Bar Foundation. “A startling 90% of legal needs in DC go unmet, and a lawyer can mean the difference between keeping families together and breaking families apart or having a roof over your head and being homeless.”

A majority of these funds provide legal assistance to DC residents living in the poorest and most underserved areas of the city, specifically Wards 5, 7, and 8. The funds maintain community-based offices, which make legal services more accessible to those living in those wards, as well as projects that are heavily supported by pro bono attorneys, multiplying funds through volunteers.

The Foundation’s grants provide critical support to projects and organizations working in a spectrum of civil legal issues, including immigration, domestic violence, and public benefits and consumer, housing, employment, family, and health and disability law. The Foundation is proud to support innovative projects such as medical-legal partnerships, a shared legal interpreter bank, and projects serving vulnerable populations, such as youth involved in the justice system and people with disabilities.

The $6.7 million is comprised of three funding streams: (1) $3.6 million from the Access to Justice (ATJ) Grants Program, established by the Council of the District of Columbia through the Access to Justice Act of 2007; (2) $2.5 million from the Civil Legal Counsel Projects Program, a new program for eviction defense projects created under the leadership of Councilmembers Kenyan McDuffie and Charles Allen by the Expanding Access to Justice Act of 2017; and (3) $600,000 from the Private Grants Program, which has provided over $26 million in general operating support to DC legal aid organizations since 1978.

The ATJ Grants Program and the Civil Legal Counsel Projects Program are funded by a grant from the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants. The Private Grants Program is funded by private fundraising and revenue from the DC Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Account Program, which is administered by the Foundation. All attorneys barred in the District must place eligible client funds—those that are nominal in amount or will be held for only a short period of time—in a DC IOLTA account offered by an approved financial institution. The interest generated on these accounts is pooled to help fund civil legal aid in DC.

To view a full list of grantees, please visit www.dcbarfoundation.org.

About the DC Bar Foundation: For DC residents in poverty, we make strategic investments to strengthen and expand our civil legal aid network, addressing critical needs and improving our community. As the largest funder of civil legal aid in the District, we are a steadfast community partner, committed to protecting access to justice in life’s most pivotal moments.

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DC Bar Foundation Seeks Nominations for 2018 Scoutt Prize

WASHINGTON, DC – The DC Bar Foundation is seeking nominations for the 2018 Jerrold Scoutt Prize, which is awarded annually to an exceptional legal services attorney in the District of Columbia. Nominations will be accepted until November 17, 2017.

The Scoutt Prize recognizes outstanding lawyers who work full time, or have spent much of their careers working full time, at DC nonprofits that provide direct, hands-on legal services to the poor or disadvantaged in our community. We encourage you to nominate attorneys who have not only demonstrated a high degree of skill in representing their clients, but who have also demonstrated a high degree of compassion.

Zuckert, Scoutt & Rasenberger LLP established the Scoutt Prize in 1993 in honor of founding partner Jerrold Scoutt Jr. The firm continues to provide an award of $2,500 annually, and since its creation, 28 outstanding public interest attorneys have been recognized. In 2017, Rochanda Hiligh-Thomas, Executive Director at Advocates for Justice and Education, was honored for her career-long dedication and commitment to advocacy.

The 2017 Scoutt Prize will be presented during the DC Bar Judicial Reception in Spring 2018.

Nominations made for the 2016 and 2017 prize will be reconsidered without a formal resubmission. However, those who submitted nominations in those years are encouraged to update their nomination materials.

How to submit your nomination:

Nominations must include the nominee’s curriculum vitae. Supporting materials, like articles of interest or letters of support, are highly encouraged. Please send nominations and supporting materials by 5:00 p.m. on November 17, 2017 to: info@dcbarfoundation.org.

 

About the DC Bar Foundation: For DC residents in poverty, we make strategic investments to strengthen and expand our civil legal aid network, addressing critical needs and improving our community. As the largest funder of civil legal aid in the District, we are a steadfast community partner, committed to protecting access to justice in life’s most pivotal moments.

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