Posts Tagged ‘Issue 30 (January 2019)’

News of Note

Nominate for 2019 Scoutt Prize Through February 1

You have until 5:00 PM on February 1 to nominate someone for the 2019 Jerrold Scoutt Prize, awarded annually to an exceptional legal services attorney in the District of Columbia. Nominations must include a cover letter and the nominee’s curriculum vitae. We encourage you to include supporting materials, like articles of interest or letters of support. Nominations made for the 2017 and 2018 Prize will be reconsidered. (We recommend updating the nomination materials.) Please send nominations and supporting materials to by 5:00 PM on February 1, 2019.

Save the Date! Lip Sync for Justice 2019

Join the Foundation’s Young Lawyers Network Leadership Council for an evening of lip sync, karaoke, networking, and fun. Hosted by our friends at Alston & Bird, this is a perfect event for your summer associate program. Proceeds support DCBF’s grant-funded work on behalf of District residents who need legal representation, as well as loan repayment assistance for legal aid attorneys. Stay tuned to this space for more information about sponsorship and tickets. Questions? Contact us

Will You Answer Our “Call to Action”?

Each year through their  generous support of our Call to Action initiative, local law firms and businesses give low-income District residents vital access to legal resources. Will you join them? Support the Foundation’s Call to Action campaign by donating on our website or by filling out our printable donation form and sending it to our offices: 80 M Street SE, Suite 100, Washington DC 20003.

We’re Hiring!

Are you interested in rewarding work promoting equal access to justice in the District? The DC Bar Foundation is hiring a Director of Development to join our hardworking and passionate team. See details here.

Get Inspired by Arnold & Porter’s Spooky “Go Casual” Success

October 2018 marked the 10th anniversary of our Go Casual for Justice campaign. This “dress down” denim-day fundraiser encourages individuals throughout the city to join with their workplaces and get excited about supporting their neighbors in the District.

Go Casual creates a unique opportunity for individuals to take an active role in positively shaping the legal landscape of our community for those who need it most. So far through the campaign, 34 dedicated workplaces have raised over $33,000 to support DC’s civil legal aid network. The generosity of Go Casual participants has strengthened our grants and loan repayment assistance programs, allowing us to provide debt support for more than 65 legal aid attorneys in DC who, along with other legal aid attorneys, serve more than 20,000 individuals in the community.

Once again in 2018, our friends at Arnold & Porter went above and beyond for Go Casual, knocking their fundraising out of the park.

Retired Partner Philip Horton and Senior Associate Melissa Weberman (who both serve in DC Bar Foundation leadership roles) built enthusiasm for a Halloween-themed “Trick-or-Treat for Justice” event. The team harnessed the power of email, Photoshop, and holiday spirit to get their colleagues involved. (See the above photo for Phil’s transformation into the Headless Horseman!)

Through these efforts, Arnold & Porter staff raised an incredible almost $9,500 – nearly $3,000 beyond the amount they raised last year! We could not be more thankful for Arnold & Porter’s partnership and passionate dedication to legal aid for our community. We can’t wait to see what they do next year.

Did you know? There’s still time to Go Casual! We need YOUR participation to meet our goals for this year’s campaign: 60 participating workplaces and $70,000 raised. To learn more about hosting an event in your workplace, please contact Greer Richey, Development and Communications Assistant,

Access to Justice in Action: Howard University’s Fair Housing Clinic

Through our Access to Justice Grants Program, we awarded a grant to Howard University’s Fair Housing Clinic, which focuses on issues related to discrimination, housing conditions, and landlord-tenant issues.

Students enrolled in the Fair Housing Clinic have the unique opportunity to assist clients in real-time as they face legal problems related to their housing. These students often conduct outreach at tenant meetings and lead “know your rights” trainings. They even go door to door in communities with systemic housing problems like building-wide mold or failure to make repairs. They represent more than 100 clients each year, while also staffing an intake line that receives hundreds of calls annually.

At a recent site visit, the Clinic’s program director shared the impact these students can have on their clients:

“Tenants at our clinic report being treated differently as soon as they get a lawyer. And it means something to everyone in the courtroom when they see someone who looks like them in front of the bench. In a recent case, I had a young student lawyer who was working on a very difficult case and was discouraged. An individual came up to her out of nowhere – probably a defendant in the courtroom for another matter – and told her how wonderful it was to see a young person of color in the front of the room. It really put the issue in a new light for my student, and also for us here at the clinic.

To learn more about the many ways your support and partnership makes a lasting impact within the DC community, visit our website.

Letter From the Executive Director

Dear Friends:

Because of your support and partnership, all of us at the DC Bar Foundation look back at 2018 with gratitude – and forward to 2019 inspired and energized.

This week we celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose passionate belief in equality for all individuals is the most central part of our mission and work. As we reflect on last year’s successes and eagerly anticipate what’s ahead, I would like to share with you two key milestones that stand out in our fight for equal access to justice:

1. For the first time ever, our Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) was fully funded. This means that we were able to fund every legal aid attorney who sought our help in paying their educational debt. Supporting talented public interest lawyers in managing their financial realities means a stronger legal aid sector, providing continuity of high-caliber services in our community. When civil legal aid can attract and keep skilled lawyers, more of our most vulnerable neighbors get the representation they need.

2. Our Foundation team grew in order to provide even more support to our partners serving low-income neighbors. Our new team members include an Evaluation and Impact Manager, a Grants Manager, and an additional Programs Officer.

As we step into 2019 and begin a strategic planning process, we are increasingly outcomes-focused. By investing in an independent evaluation of the Civil Legal Counsel Projects Program (CLCPP), we prioritize learning how the program can be improved to better support our grantees and the residents they serve. This will be the most extensive grant program evaluation to date, and it is the first evaluation to focus on program outcomes. We are committed to learning new things and meeting the future together with you.

This year, the Foundation is poised to expand our impact, making a tangible difference in the lives of our neighbors in need. Your support and partnership makes it possible. Thank you!


Kirra L. Jarratt
Executive Director

Partner Profile: Tiana Russell

Each month we highlight an individual working to make the justice system more accessible to DC residents. This month features Tiana Russell, member of the Foundation’s Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee provides strategic guidance to the Foundation on matters related to programmatic activities and operations.


United States Department of Justice


Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division

Years on the Job

Three years

Where did you grow up?

La Canada, California

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

An internship at the Laogai Research Center


Favorite Movie 

Lord of the Rings

One item from your Bucket List?

Diving in the Galapagos Islanes


Skiing, Yoga, Diving, Playing Piano, Cooking, Running, Reading, and Travel.

You get to paint a mural on the side of the White House. What do you paint?

Dragons (my kids love dragons!)

Biggest failure and what you learned?

I’ve had lots of setbacks, but I’ve found this quote by the Dalai Lama to be very true: “Sometimes not getting what we want can be a brilliant stroke of luck.”

Most rewarding element of your work?

Standing up in court and representing the United States of America

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


Legal aid is important to me because…

it leads to fairer and better outcomes for everyone.