Serving Our Neighbors: Meet Jamie Sparano, LRAP Attorney
With your generous support, our Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) keeps skilled, dedicated public interest lawyers in the field. These attorneys serve people in our community who need it most. The program is a critical way the DC Bar Foundation supports legal aid providers and assists DC residents with low incomes.
Today, meet Jamie:
When Jamie decided to attend law school at American University in 2009, she was clear on two things: She wanted to do some kind of nonprofit work and she wanted to help people living on low incomes. Unfortunately, her education racked up about $200,000 in student loan debt.
When Jamie accepted a position at Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, she learned about the SPARK program, an LRAP initiative funded by the DC Bar Foundation (DCBF). For Jamie, the support was a game-changer.
“DCBF stepped in almost right away. It’s hard to say what I would’ve done otherwise. It would have been difficult to accept a job at a nonprofit and move into a city that’s very expensive to live in,” she says.
As a senior staff attorney, Jamie helps families and domestic violence survivors navigate complex, emotional legal issues. Last year she represented a client at risk of losing custody of her son to the child’s father, a former abusive partner. But with Jamie and her Legal Aid team, the client was able to take the stand to tell her story. Within a few weeks, the court returned primary custody to her.
The case represents the people-driven work Jamie knew early on that she wanted to do: “I genuinely felt that my presence had made all the difference for this client, who otherwise would have struggled to present evidence and advocate for herself.”
Your support makes Jamie’s work – and all of our LRAP participants’ work – possible. Thank you for keeping DC’s public interest lawyers fighting for our neighbors in need.
Tags: Issue 44 (March 2020)