As November comes to an end, on behalf of everyone at the DC Bar Foundation, I would like to give thanks to you, our civil legal aid community. Whether through your nomination of a Scoutt Prize recipient, your support of your workplace’s Go Casual for Justice day, your advocacy on behalf of a client, or your service with any or our grantees, it is your ongoing participation that creates a lasting impact on DC residents in poverty who need legal support.
In this month’s newsletter, read about our largest annual campaign for firms and corporations, Call to Action, and how it directly supports the efforts of our grantee organizations. One such organization is University Legal Services, a private nonprofit which serves as the District’s federally mandated protection and advocacy agency for individuals with disabilities. We are constantly striving to make access to justice for everyone in DC a reality rather than a condition. Your support, and that of your office, can make a difference for families in impoverished circumstances.
Thank you for all that you do to help the many District residents in need of legal aid.
Kirra L. Jarratt, Executive Director
The DC Bar Foundation (DCBF) values its longstanding relationships with lesser known organizations that focus on sometimes forgotten segments of the DC community. For many years, DCBF and its donors, through our private grant program, have supported the work of a part-time lawyer at University Legal Services (ULS). This lawyer provides legal services to DC residents who are confined at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, a mental illness hospital in Southeast DC. These unrestricted funds give ULS the flexibility to provide high-quality legal services for their unique client population.
ULS has a holistic and compassionate approach with all of their services. Their lawyer is also a nurse, and visits clients who are institutionalized across DC to make sure they are receiving suitable medical care. This small yet effective team also coordinates pro bono services at ULS, leveraging resources and expanding access to justice by recruiting and training volunteer attorneys to take cases for those who are institutionalized.
Learn more about our private grantees here.
November marks the kickoff of Call to Action, the Foundation’s largest annual fundraising campaign. Through this initiative, and the generosity of area law firms and corporations, our private grants program continues to provide critical resources to civil legal aid organizations throughout the District.
In 2016, DCBF awarded $600,000 in private grants to more than 20 civil legal aid organizations. Our private grantees, including University Legal Services, represent a variety of issue areas affecting the city’s poorest and most vulnerable populations (e.g. housing, domestic violence, and immigration, among others). They are ultimately able to provide representation for thousands of residents each year who would otherwise be unable to access and afford it.
The Foundation would like recognize last year’s Platinum Level Call to Action donors, who each gave at least $25,000: Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP; The Sidley Austin Foundation; Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP; Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP, and Alston & Bird LLP. With their help, and that of more than 100 firms and corporations across the District, $647,000 was raised for DC’s legal services providers. We would also like to acknowledge this year’s campaign co-chairs, Ron Flagg (Legal Services Corporation) and Joan Strand (The George Washington University Law School), for their leadership and support.
Click here to learn more about the Call to Action campaign and how to get your organization involved.
On October 26, Morgan Lewis & Bockius hosted us for the 2017 DC IOLTA Bank Summit. The summit was co-hosted with the DC Bar, the Office of Disciplinary Counsel, and the Board on Professional Responsibility, and brought together many of the banks that participate in the DC IOLTA Program, including Prime Partners Colombo Bank, Congressional Bank, and Industrial Bank. Anna Sandor of Morgan Lewis & Bockius presented on the Community Reinvestment Act, sharing how the DC Bar Foundation can support the CRA efforts of our Prime Partner banks (those offering higher interest rates on IOLTA accounts). Thank you to our hosts and to all who attended! You can view more pictures from the event here.
[Pictured: Ms. Selam Eyassu of Congressional Bank, one of our 6 Prime Partners]
This September, the DC Consortium of Legal Services Providers (the “Consortium”) released a final report, with funding from the DC Bar Foundation, on the Community Listening Project, which began nearly five years ago to identify challenges and barriers low-income DC residents face in overcoming poverty. More than 700 District residents participated in the project through focus group conversations and surveys, sharing their views of the judicial system and the accessibility of legal services. The final report provides the Consortium with recommendations and implementation steps for how to address issues and strengthen weaknesses in the delivery of civil legal aid in the District.
Each month, we highlight the efforts of those who work to make the justice system more accessible for DC residents. This Partner Profile features Ron Flagg, Vice President for Legal Affairs, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at Legal Services Corporation, and one of our 2018 Call to Action campaign co-chairs.
Vice President & General Counsel
Legal Services Corporation
Years on the Job
Where did you grow up?
What brought you to DC?
A job in the US Department of Justice Office of Intelligence Policy & Review
What was your first job in DC, and what did you learn?
I worked as an attorney in the DOJ Office of Intelligence Policy & Review. Classified information is not necessarily interesting.
Check weather forecasts where my 3 daughters live
Favorite Vacation Spot
Rocky Mountain National Park
I don’t reveal my guilty pleasures
One Item from your Bucket List
Your News Source(s)
One thing (other than your phone) you never leave the house without is…
You get to paint a mural on the side of the White House. What do you paint?
Sign reading “Wanted: A Mural Painter”
Most rewarding element of your work
Advancing LSC mission of funding legal aid
If I weren’t working at Legal Services Corporation, I would be…
still working at Sidley Austin
Legal aid is important to me because …
clients’ lives often depend on it
Your dream for our legal system is…
Everyone needing help to access the system gets it
The most pressing civil legal aid issue in DC is…
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.