Posts Tagged ‘Issue 1 (December 2015)’

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Wishing you a happy holiday and a joyful and prosperous new year!
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Partner Profile: Staff Attorney Joshua Rigney

Each week, we highlight interesting facts and insights from you and others whose work each day make our justice system more accessible and equitable for all. This week’s partner profile features Joshua Rigney, Staff Attorney, DCBF Grantee, Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition – Pro Bono Asylum Program (PBAP).

Josh Rigney, Staff Attorney, TASSC


Josh Rigney


Staff Attorney

Years on the job

Half a year


Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition – Pro Bono Asylum Program (PBAP)

Where did you grow up?

Northwest suburbs of Chicago, Illinois

What brought you to DC?

Law school

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

I worked as a Dean’s Fellow for the International Human Rights Law Clinic at American University’s Washington College of Law. I learned about preparing applications for asylum and other immigration benefits.

Fun Facts

Favorite restaurant  

Meiwah near the intersection of M Street and New Hampshire in NW DC.

Favorite vacation spot

Tie between Paris, France and Phuket, Thailand

Guilty pleasure

Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake from Barnes & Noble

One item from your bucket list

Hike to Mount Everest Base Camp in Nepal


Playing soccer, running, and reading


Most rewarding element of your work –

The look of joy/relief on a client’s face when they are granted asylum.

If I hadn’t become a lawyer, I would be an… 

Intelligence analyst for the government or a professor.

Legal Aid and DCBF Funding

 Legal aid is important to me because…

This country runs on laws that are supposed to treat each and every person equally. A growing number of people, however, find that the costs and complexity of the legal system ensures that the treatment they receive is far from equal. Legal aid, when put to effective use, should help to address this issue.

 Your dream for our legal system is…

That we put the necessary money into our immigration legal system so men and women that have come to the US without their families as they seek asylum no longer have to wait several years before seeing their families again.

Organization mission:

TASSC seeks to eradicate the use of torture and help survivors of torture recover from the trauma they have experienced.

Little known fact about your organization.

TASSC is an organization built and run by torture survivors. Its founder, executive director, some of its staff, and half of its board of directors are torture survivors.

Recent victory made possible through DCBF funding.

Two participants in our recent legal orientation realized that they were being taken advantage of by case writers (basically fake attorneys, similar to notarios) and decided to find real attorenys to work on their cases.

What has DCBF funding meant to your organization?

Since receiving funding through DCBF, the number of asylum cases for DC residents that PBAP can work on has quadrupled. Furthermore, PBAP has been able to reach out to many more of our residents through legal orientations that explain asylum law and the asylum process, and provide advice for finding good legal representation.

Public Grants Application Released

District of Columbia, Dec. 21, 2015] – The DC Bar Foundation has released the online application for the FY16 Access to Justice (ATJ) Grants Program for DC civil legal aid providers seeking project funding. The application is due by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, January 29, 2016. Awards will be announced mid-March 2016.

The DC Bar Foundation will award grants to nonprofit legal aid providers located in the District of Columbia to fund direct civil legal aid to low-income DC residents in the following three areas: (a) underserved areas of the District of Columbia; (b) housing-related matters; and (c) to support a shared legal aid interpreter bank. Applications may be submitted for new projects and renewal of previously funded projects. The FY16 public grant funding period covers May 1, 2016 through April 30, 2017.

The grant funds are available to the DC Bar Foundation through a public grant from the District of Columbia Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants (OVSJG). Since the grant program began in 2007, DCBF has awarded over $25 million to projects throughout the District. This year, at least $4,500,000 will be available to eligible nonprofits located in the District of Columbia that provide direct civil legal aid to low-income DC residents.

To access the FY16 ATJ Grants Program online application, please visit the grants section of our website at

The DC Bar Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization established in 1977, is the largest funder of civil legal services in the District. The Bar 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 and training and technical assistance to local non-profit legal services organizations and awards loans to D.C. poverty lawyers to help with their educational debt.