DC Bar Foundation Awards More Than $3.4 Million in Access to Justice Grants

The DC Bar Foundation today announced more than $3.4 million in publicly-funded Access to Justice Grants to provide civil legal services to the District of Columbia’s most underserved and underrepresented residents. This year’s Access to Justice Grants support 20 collaborative projects that range from increasing the number of lawyers working on housing issues, to widening access to legal services for those living in underserved areas, to providing live interpreters in an attorney-client setting through a shared legal interpreter bank.

The awards include funding for two new projects. One will expand access to legal services for low-income workers in Wards 5 and 7. The other will provide legal representation to low-income DC residents with disabilities, enabling them to make their own decisions and direct their lives.

“The Access to Justice funds place lawyers in the most underserved communities of the District,” said Marc Fleischaker, president of the DC Bar Foundation board of directors. “These investments allow the nonprofit legal community to provide high-quality legal services at the doorstep of those who are in most need.”

This is the eighth year the Council of the District of Columbia has appropriated funding to expand legal services for those most in need in the District. At the direction of the Council, and pursuant to a grant agreement with the District of Columbia’s Office of Victim Services, the DC Bar Foundation lends its expertise to the District by identifying, awarding, and monitoring the Access to Justice Grants. This June, the Bar Foundation will also award grants for civil legal services from funding received through private donations.

A list of FY14 Access to Justice projects and grantees is attached and also available on the DC Bar Foundation’s website, www.dcbarfoundation.org.

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The District of Columbia Bar Foundation was established in 1977 to provide lawyers and law firms with an effective vehicle for fulfilling their ethical obligation to ensure that all residents of our community have access to competent legal representation by funding legal services for the underprivileged. The Foundation awards grants to DC civil legal services organizations, administers the publicly-funded DC Poverty Lawyer Loan Repayment Assistance Program, and provides technical assistance and training to the District’s civil legal services providers.

James D. Bishop to Receive 2014 Scoutt Prize

The District of Columbia Bar Foundation has selected James D. Bishop, Director of the Catholic Charities Legal Network of the Archdiocese of Washington, as the recipient of the 2014 Jerrold Scoutt Prize. The 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 the needy 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.

For more than 30 years, Mr. Bishop has devoted his legal career to those who are most vulnerable. As Director of the Legal Network for the past 20 years, he has significantly increased the number of attorneys willing to accept pro bono cases, implemented cutting-edge technology, and provided training and technical assistance to other legal services organizations locally and nationally. He also currently serves as a Supervisor and Mediator with the Multi-Door Dispute Resolution Division of the District of Columbia Superior Court’s Family Division.

As one supporter put it, Mr. Bishop “leaves no stone unturned in trying to provide assistance for clients or finding an attorney who can help them.” “Jim Bishop is an unsung hero of our pro bono community and a deserving recipient of the Scoutt Prize,” said DCBF Advisory Committee Member and Prize Committee Chair Fred T. Goldberg, Jr., of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. Mr. Bishop is an alumnus of the District’s Woodrow Wilson High School. He received his B.A., magna cum laude, from Lincoln University and his J.D. from Howard University School of Law.

The Scoutt Prize, endowed by the Washington, D.C., 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 Bar Foundation will present the 2014 Jerrold Scoutt Prize during the D.C. Bar’s Judicial

Reception on May 15, 2014.

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The District of Columbia Bar Foundation was established in 1977 to provide lawyers and law firms with an effective vehicle for fulfilling their ethical obligation to ensure that all residents of our community have access to competent legal representation by funding legal services for the underprivileged. The Foundation awards grants to DC civil legal services organizations, administers the publicly-funded DC Poverty Lawyer Loan Repayment Assistance Program, and provides technical assistance and training to the District’s civil legal services providers.