Posts Tagged ‘Issue 17 (October 2017)’

Letter from the Executive Director

Today, there are more than 110,000 DC residents living in poverty. As this number continues to grow, so does the overwhelming need for civil legal aid. Together, the DC Bar Foundation and our grantees help provide access to legal representation for those who need it most. Our work, however, cannot be accomplished without the ongoing support of others in the legal aid community, our volunteers, and our donors. Two weeks ago, we celebrated these relationships at our annual Fall Reception, where we engaged with DCBF community members and discussed the Foundation’s work.

October marks the kickoff of our annual Go Casual for Justice campaign, where workplaces across the District can participate in “denim-days” and raise money in support of the District’s legal aid community. This month’s newsletter includes a feature on our most committed Go Casual donor, Sidley Austin LLP, and its relationship with one of our longstanding grantee organizations, Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs (WLC). Additionally, in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we have highlighted our grantees that work on behalf of domestic violence survivors.

Thank you for your continued support and for working with us to close the District’s justice gap.



Kirra L. Jarratt, Executive Director

The Multiplier Effect: Our Grantees and Our Donors

The DC Bar Foundation values grantees that demonstrate thoughtful and effective use of pro bono work because strong pro bono relationships maximize free legal services provided to low-income DC residents. The legal aid lawyers we fund work side by side with pro bono lawyers on thousands of cases to multiply the millions of dollars we award each year. If not for our dedicated grantees and their network of pro bono lawyers, the needs of these residents would be even greater. In honor of the kick-off of DCBF’s Go Casual for Justice campaign, we would like to take the opportunity to highlight Sidley Austin LLP as the defending Go Casual leader and a strong supporter of DC’s legal aid organizations, providing thousands of hours of pro bono support to our grantees and others.

One of Sidley Austin LLP’s strongest relationships is with the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs (WLC), a DCBF grantee since 1982. Most recently, DCBF awarded $465,000 to three of WLC’s projects: the DC Prisoners’ Project, Employment Justice Project, and Housing Justice Project. With the support from law firms like Sidley Austin, WLC is able to multiply our funding and assist hundreds of additional low-income DC residents each year.

Read more about WLC’s projects we fund here:
Click here for more information on how to register your office to participate in our Go Casual for Justice 2017 campaign.

Go Casual in Support of DC’s Legal Aid Community

The DC Bar Foundation’s annual Go Casual for Justice campaign kicked off on Monday, October 23rd. Go Casual is a denim-day fundraiser in which organizations around the District raise money in support of DCBF and the District’s civil legal aid community. Employees at participating workplaces are encouraged to make a donation in order to dress down during their office’s designated “Go Casual Day.”

Go Casual for Justice began in 2009, with 30 workplaces raising a total of $30,000. Last year’s campaign raised over $60,000 from more than 60 workplaces. In the eight years since Go Casual’s inception, the number of DC residents in poverty (and subsequent civil legal aid cases) has increased by thousands. Funds raised through this initiative help our grantees attract and retain top-tier talent by providing DC’s civil legal aid lawyers with training and technical assistance, as well as financial support through the Foundation’s Loan Repayment Assistance Program.

Law firms, corporate law departments, banks, legal aid groups, and other DC workplaces of all sizes are encouraged to participate in Go Casual. Click here to learn more about the fundraiser and get involved.

2017 Fall Reception Highlights


Thank you to everyone who attended our annual Fall Reception on October 11th, hosted by Alston & Bird LLP. Over 120 people came together for this year’s event, which celebrated the work of our grantees and the loyal support of our donors and volunteers. CLICK HERE to view more pictures from the event.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Our Grantees’ Work

Amara Legal Center – Empowerment Project

 @AmaraLegal is the only organization in DC providing free legal services to survivors of sex trafficking and abuse, whether involvement in sex work was by coercion, necessity, choice, or otherwise.

DC Volunteer Lawyers Project – Representation for Domestic Violence Victims

@DCVLP creates, supports, and utilizes a network of volunteer lawyers to provide high-quality, free legal services to domestic violence victims and at-risk children in DC.

Legal Aid Society of DC – Domestic Violence Underserved Communities Holistic Representation Project

@LegalAidDC represents domestic violence survivors in obtaining protection orders, child custody, and divorce while working to improve systems for all survivors in DC.

Bread for the City – Domestic Violence Community Legal Services Project

@BreadfortheCity provides on-site legal services at two domestic violence centers for protection orders and family law to survivors in DC.

Partner Profile: Mark Herzog

Each month, we highlight the efforts of those who work to make the justice system more accessible for DC residents. This Partner Profile features Mark Herzog, Pro Bono Counsel at Sidley Austin LLP – the defending champion of our Go Casual for Justice campaign.

Mark Herzog

Pro Bono Counsel

Sidley Austin LLP

Years on the Job
4 months

Where did you grow up?
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

What brought you to DC?
Law School

What was your first job in DC, and what did you learn?
I was a bartender during law school. What did I learn? How bartenders become more attractive to patrons as last call approaches.


Daily Habit
Waking, which I never intend to abandon.

Favorite App
Pandora at home. Waze approaching the GW Bridge.

Favorite Movie
Funny Girl, Sound of Music and Tootsie (Yes, I am)

Favorite Vacation Spot
Wherever is planned next. This year, Alaska.

Guilty Pleasure
Ice cream. Lots. And cheese.

One Item from your Bucket List
I married him.

Chauffeuring my son from event to event… Wait.

My mom for her compassion, courage and grace.

Your News Source(s)
WP, NYT, NPR and TRMS for a little spin

One thing (other than your phone) you never leave the house without is…
Phone charger


Biggest failure and what you learned
TONS of mistakes. No failures.

Most rewarding element of your work
Every pro bono case we staff feels like a victory.

List three main challenges you faced early on in your career
Youth. Youth. Youth.

If I hadn’t become a lawyer, I would be a…
top box office sensation.


Legal aid is important to me because …
lawyers make a difference. Period.

Your dream for our legal system is…
for the need of legal aid to become obsolete.

The most pressing civil legal aid issue in DC is…
the one on which I currently am working.

Little known fact about your organization
The breadth and impact of Sidley’s pro bono work is extraordinary. #Proudtobe@Sidley


Would you like to tell us about your role in DC’s legal aid community? Fill out our ​Partner Profile Survey and share your story in an upcoming newsletter.

DCBF has moved!

Please note that, as of Tuesday, October 31st, the Foundation has a new home at:

80 M Street SE, First Floor
Washington, DC 20003

Stay tuned for updates on the move…

CFC Underway

The Foundation is currently participating in the Combined Federal Campaign of the National Capital Area (CFCNCA), which began on October 2nd and continues through January 12th, 2018. The CFC is the official workplace giving campaign of the federal government. If you are a federal employee and would like to support our efforts to strengthen DC’s civil legal aid network, our designation code is #87057.