Partner Profile: Ashley James

Each month we highlight an individual working to make the justice system more accessible to DC residents. This month features Ashley James, Associate General Counsel, Labor & Employment at Facebook, member of the Foundation’s Young Lawyers Network Leadership Council, and Co-Chair of the 2020 Lip Sync for Justice event.

Job/Position

Associate General Counsel, Labor & Employment

Years on the Job

Four

Organization

Facebook

Where did you grow up?

Washington, DC

What brought you to DC?

It’s my hometown!

What was your first job in DC and what did you learn?

A summer internship at a federal agency while in high school. I mostly took away the basics of being a working person – how to conduct myself in a work environment and interact with others, what it meant to go to work every day, how to navigate the metro, etc. It was very helpful in learning how to be more than just a student.

Favorite App

Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp of course!

Favorite Movie

Pretty Woman

Favorite Restaurant

Pearl Dive or Compass Rose

Favorite Vacation Spot

A beach with clear water

Guilty Pleasure

Wendy Williams’ Hot Topics

One Item from your Bucket List

To visit every country – or at least 100

You get to paint a mural on the side of the White House. What do you paint?

“Enjoy the Journey”

Biggest failure and what you learned

Being overwhelmed helped me to say no.

Legal aid is important to me because…

It gives voices to many who are unheard.

The most pressing civil legal aid issue in DC is…

Equal access and knowledge for everyone.

Remembering Donald R. Dunner, Friend of the DC Bar Foundation

Last month, Washington DC’s legal community lost a legend. Donald R. Dunner, partner at Finnegan Henderson Farabow Garrett & Dunner LLP, passed away at age 88.

In addition to his storied and successful career as a renowned patent attorney, Don was a lifelong friend and advisor to the DC Bar Foundation. He served on the Foundation’s Advisory Committee since 1992 and as Chair of the Committee for the past 10 years. Don was also a steadfast financial supporter of the Foundation for more than 25 years.

Paul Smith, former President of the DC Bar Foundation, recently shared these words about Don:

“Don Dunner was two things to me. First, he was the dean of the appellate patent bar, and thus a formidable competitor for us appellate specialists who hoped to gain a slice of the patent appeals heard by the Federal Circuit. Second, he was the single most dedicated fundraising volunteer that we had at the DC Bar Foundation. He was absolutely dedicated to making sure the Foundation had the funds it needed to help fund legal services for the poor in DC. We will miss his cheerful enthusiasm.”

The DC Bar Foundation is extremely grateful for Don’s support of the Foundation and DC’s civil legal aid community, and for his friendship. We offer our condolences to all those who knew him. If you would like to make a gift to the Foundation in Don’s memory, you may do so here. Please include your short tribute to Don in the “Public Posted Comments” section on our donation form.

The DC Bar Foundation Selects Six New Members to Young Lawyers Network Leadership Council

[District of Columbia, October 24, 2019] – The District of Columbia Bar Foundation has selected six new members to its Young Lawyers Network Leadership Council (YLN LC), led by Co-Chairs Meryl Grenadier and Courtney Lindsay.
 
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, whose mission is to fund, support, and improve legal representation of the poor, vulnerable, and otherwise disadvantaged in the District of Columbia.
 
Members of the YLN LC serve two-year, renewable terms during which they act 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 an active part of the Foundation’s fundraising efforts, and hosts an annual event, Lip Sync for Justice, that provides critical support to low-income DC residents in need of legal representation.
 
In joining the YLN LC, the following six young lawyers demonstrate their commitment to furthering the Foundation’s vision of access to justice for all:
 
Stephanie Bitto – Trial Attorney at the US Department of Labor
Geoffrey Fehling – Associate at Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
Ashley James – Associate General Counsel at Facebook
Emily Lagan – Attorney at Regan Zambri Long PLLC
Allison Rochford – Associate at BakerHostetler 
Lori Waichman – Associate at Mooney Green Saindon Murphy & Welch PC

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.
 
                                                                                                                                        ###

The DC Bar Foundation Elects Three New Members to Board of Directors

[District of Columbia, October 17, 2019] – The District of Columbia Bar Foundation has elected three new members to its Board of Directors, who will serve three-year terms from October 1, 2019 – September 30, 2022. In joining the Foundation’s Board, these individuals demonstrate their commitment to ensuring that all District residents have a fair and equal legal experience:

Wayne T. Gibson – Wayne T. Gibson is a Senior Managing Director at FTI Consulting, where he works as a part of their Health Solutions segment. Mr. Gibson has twenty years of experience applying economic and financial modeling, data-intensive analysis, and complex claims analysis across numerous industries and in a variety of operational, dispute, and compliance matters.

Karen A. Lash – Karen A. Lash is a Practitioner-in-Residence and Director of the Justice in Government Project at American University’s School of Public Affairs Justice Programs Office. Prior to working at American University, Ms. Lash served in leadership positions as a political appointee in the Obama Administration at the US Department of Justice’s Office for Access to Justice (ATJ), and as the first Executive Director of the White House Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable (LAIR).

Danielle M. Reyes – Danielle M. Reyes is the Executive Director of the Crimsonbridge Foundation, and has worked in education, philanthropy, and the nonprofit sector for more than twenty-five years. In addition to her extensive experience in the Greater Washington region, Ms. Reyes has worked regionally, nationally, and in the Caribbean as a leader and strategist in innovative and inclusive philanthropy, nonprofit capacity building, leadership and organizational development, and communications.

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.
 
                                                                                                                                 ###

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER KIRRA L. JARRATT NAMED ONE OF WASHINGTON BUSINESS JOURNAL’S TWENTY-FIVE “WOMEN WHO MEAN BUSINESS”

[District of Columbia, August 29, 2019] – The Washington Business Journal has selected DC Bar Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Kirra L. Jarratt, as one of twenty-five honorees for the 2019 Women Who Mean Business awards program. This award honors the region’s most influential business women of 2019 who have made a difference in their communities and are leaving a mark on the Washington-area community.

Ms. Jarratt joined the DC Bar Foundation in 2014. During her time at the Foundation, the organization’s revenue and staff have doubled in size, allowing the Foundation to help more District residents with civil legal aid needs. Integral to this growth has been Ms. Jarratt’s dedication to overhauling the Foundation’s infrastructure and operations, which she has accomplished by modernizing its systems, investing in technology, and reducing programmatic cycles. Under her leadership, the Foundation has intentionally expanded its profile beyond the legal community in order to partner with non-legal stakeholders who are focused on improving the lives of those within the District. These efforts have allowed the Foundation to be more intentional and strategic in its grantmaking.

Ms. Jarratt has dedicated over 25 years to working in the DC community. She began her career working as Counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee to then Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., then as Legislative Director to Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton from 1994 to 1998. Upon leaving the Hill, Ms. Jarratt co-founded the law practice of Jarratt & Jarratt PLLC with her mother, where she focused her work from 1998 to 2004 on helping families navigate DC’s child welfare system. She then served in the District’s Office of the Attorney General as agency counsel to the Child and Family Services Agency and the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services through 2008. Immediately before beginning at the DC Bar Foundation in 2014, Ms. Jarratt served as Legislative Counsel to the American Bar Association.

Ms. Jarratt currently serves on the boards of the National Conference of Bar Foundations and the Washington Improv Theater. She has a B.A. from Harvard, and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School. “It’s an honor to receive this recognition, which helps us shine a light on our ongoing work to make sure that DC’s civil justice system works for everyone, and not just those with wealth, power and knowledge,” says Jarratt.

The Women Who Mean Business awards program was established in 2004. Honorees are selected by an external panel of judges made up of alumni of the program and Washington Business Journal staff, and are chosen based on criteria including strong leadership skills, commitment to community service, and continuing success in their field. This year’s honorees will be recognized at the 16th annual Women Who Mean Business Awards, hosted by the Washington Business Journal on October 3, 2019. 

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.
 
                                                                                                                                                    ###

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.

###

 

$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.

###

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.

###

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.

###