By Jessalyn Schwartz Starting on January 1, 2019, the Lyft Grocery Access Program will offer affordable rides to three East of the River grocery stores for 500 eligible families in an effort to combat common barriers of transportation and access to healthy foods. Lyft has partnered with Martha’s Table, a local nonprofit, that has been working to strengthen families and communities through educational programming, healthy food projects and family support services, to implement the six-month pilot program. For $2.50 per ride, up to two members of participating families will be able to share rides to one of three local grocery stores (Giant at 1535 Alabama Avenue SE, Safeway at 322 40th Street NE, and Safeway at 2845 Alabama Avenue SE) or the Martha’s Table food markets (locations here). Eligible families must have at least one child enrolled in one of the six participating elementary schools or engaged in Martha’s Table’s educational programs and must attend an in-person orientation with Martha’s Table and Lyft prior to using their rides. Families will receive up to 50 rides through June 30, 2019. According to Lindsay Morton, Director of Healthy Markets at Martha’s Table, families have long reported that transportation is one of the top three barriers to accessing grocery stores. The program seeks to lessen the financial and logistical burdens associated with getting to grocery stores. Lyft has been a supporter of Martha’s Table for over a year and came to the nonprofit to find a way to stand with the DC community and leverage each entity’s powers to combat issues with food access and the prevalence of food deserts. Martha’s Table has been an essential player in working to resolve this problem in the city and is known to be a convener of both residents utilizing their programs and influencers who may impact the scalability of effective efforts. Collaborating through a series of meetings, Lyft and Martha’s Table were able to come up with a number of ideas, test their efficacy, and quickly bring the pilot program to fruition. Martha’s Table has reached out to local partner schools, families engaged in their programming, and community members to spread the word. If the program proves successful, they will seek to generate funding strategies to take the program to a larger scale. The goal is to first expand the program to more families in Wards 7 and 8 and then to grow the program to reach the rest of the District, and the greater DC Metro area. The program will utilize a survey model to assess its efficacy, with participants sharing information on their grocery shopping habits before, during, and at the conclusion of the pilot period. Morton shared that the enthusiasm from last week’s announcement has made the idea of implementing the program on a larger scale seem possible and that the organizations were excited to begin the new year with an innovative approach to reducing transportation and food access barriers in DC. For more information about the program, please visit the Lyft Grocery Access Program website. Families interested in joining the program can apply here. Registration is on a first come, first served basis. Registration will remain open until 500 families are enrolled. Jessalyn Schwartz is an editor of East of the River Profiles.
The United States District Court for the District of Columbia seeks nominations for the Daniel M. Gribbon Pro Bono Advocacy Award. Nominees may be an individual or firm that has demonstrated distinguished advocacy before the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in a pro bono matter that concluded between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2018. Candidates may self-nominate, and non-winning nominations from previous years may be resubmitted if the matter falls within the eligible dates. Nominations, which will be accepted beginning on January 1, 2019, must be in writing, and are limited to six (6) pages in length. Nominations may consist of a brief (no longer than two pages) description of the pro bono matter, as well as letters of support. No pleadings or court filings may be attached. The two-page description must be received no later than 12:00 noon on Friday, March 1, 2019. Letters of support will also be accepted through 12:00 noon on Friday, March 1, 2019. All nomination documents may be submitted electronically to the member of the D.C. Circuit Judicial Conference Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services responsible for the nominations process, Michael Williams, at email@example.com. Alternatively, an original plus 10 copies of the nomination may be submitted to be received by the deadline to: Michael F. Williams, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, 655 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005. The family and friends of Daniel M. Gribbon have graciously endowed this award in honor of Dan Gribbon's lifetime commitment to and strong support of pro bono legal services. The nominations process is managed for the District Court by the D.C. Circuit Judicial Conference Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services. Requests for further information should be directed to Standing Committee member Michael F. Williams by telephone at (202) 879-5123 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information can be found here.
By Alexis Applegate Thank you again to everyone who joined us at our 2018 Awards Ceremony, and extra special thanks to our award winners for the work that they do to serve our community. We were delighted to have Board Member and immediate past President Kelly Voss accept our Law Firm Award on behalf of Covington & Burling. We are proud to recognize the firm’s commitment to pro bono service, support for DC’s public-interest community and the myriad ways Covington has partnered with Washington Council of Lawyers to help us further our mission. We were also excited to recognize the hard work of our Government Pro Bono Award recipient, Catalina Martinez from the U.S. Small Business Administration, and our Legal Service Award recipient Lindsy Miles-Hare from Ayuda for their tireless devotion to ensuring that their clients receive the best quality representation and the support they provide their colleagues in the pursuit of justice. Chief Deputy Attorney General Natalie O. Ludaway represented the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia as we applauded the OAG’s creation of a new pro bono program which will allow more local government attorneys to take pro bono cases to help our neighbors in need. Lastly, it was an honor to award Shelley Broderick from the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law with the Presidents Award for Public Service in recognition of her decades of service to the District of Columbia and its residents. Shelley’s leadership, encouragement, and example have inspired new generations of public-interest lawyers and made our community stronger. Shelley is truly a catalyst for public service. We had such a wonderful evening celebrating with our friends and colleagues. Each year the Awards Ceremony not only serves to recognize the wonderful work of our award recipients, but also gives our community a chance to gather, have some fun (ask Shelley Broderick if you need help having fun), and recharge for the year of important work ahead. As Lindsy Miles-Hare, quoting Nelson Mandella, reminded us, "Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice." Good luck with all the hard work you will do for our community in the coming year, and please reach out to the Washington Council of Lawyers when you need assistance. See you in 2019!! Alexis Applegate is the Communications Director for Washington Council of Lawyers.
By Omar Delgadillo On October 26th, D.C. Law Students in Court (LSIC) hosted a Sealing & Expungement Summit at the Department of Employment Services building at their Minnesota Avenue Office in Northeast. This DC Pro Bono Week event connected members of the community with lawyers to help with the expungement and sealing of their criminal records. The Summit was an informational fair as well as a clinic, embodying LSIC's client-centered approach to representation. In this effort, LSIC's Eviction Defense Project, LSIC's Civil Protection Order Program and LSIC's Social Work Program were present at the Summit to assist attendees with other legal services. Community partners provided information to Summit attendees on how to overcome the employment and housing barriers that arrest records can present. LSIC partners at the Summit included the the D.C. Department of Employment Services, the D.C. Office on Human Rights, the Mayor's Office on Returning Citizens Affairs, the Project Empowerment Program and Howard University's Fair Housing Clinic. Each one of these partners provided information on the law surrounding housing and employment discrimination to the Summit attendees. With the coordination of Jen Tschirch, Pro Bono Coordinator at Georgetown University Law Center, several GULC law student volunteers also participated in the Summit. The D.C. Office of Human Rights provided information about actions individuals can take to protect against unlawful discrimination on the basis of their criminal record. For example, they can file a complaint against an employer or landlord whose applications contain questions about criminal records, or if there is reason to believe that their housing or employment applications were rejected before the offer stage because of their criminal record. One attendee said he has been rejected nine times in his search for housing and was told directly that one of his applications was rejected because of a prior conviction. If true, this would constitute a violation of D.C.'s Ban the Box law, which prohibits a criminal record from being considered early in the housing application process. Another attendee said he was homeless and believed he was facing trouble getting a job because of his criminal history; he had not received responses to his job applications despite having a high school diploma. The Expungement Summit involved eighteen attorneys from four major DC law firms (Arnold & Porter, Latham & Watkins, Reed Smith, Steptoe & Johnson). LSIC's clinic had a big assist from Maya Sheppard at Neighborhood Legal Services Program. Due to the Summit's success, LSIC has been able to pair more than a dozen Summit attendees with our pro bono partners for full representation in the weeks since the Summit. Washington Council of Lawyers was instrumental in helping LSIC offer this pro bono opportunity to the DC legal community. The Sealing & Expungement Summit provided dozens of individuals with much-needed information and guidance. It was a great success! Questions? Want to know more? Contact: LSIC Expungement Hotline: (202) 607-2721 or email@example.com Omar Delgadillo is a member of the East of the River Profiles Committee.
By Alexis Applegate At the Washington Council of Lawyers annual Awards Ceremony on December 4, we will recognize the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) for the District of Columbia for its recent adoption of an office-wide Pro Bono Program that encourages lawyers in its office to provide critical legal services to individuals in need. Attorney General Karl A. Racine and his team have worked diligently with Washington Council of Lawyers on this Program, which provides guidance to OAG attorneys who wish to participate in pro bono work. The new Pro Bono Program provides a helpful framework for these attorneys, detailing, among other subjects, the types of pro bono work they can take on and the guidelines they must follow when participating in pro bono projects. In 2016, Washington Council of Lawyers began to discuss the benefits of a pro bono program and to provide technical support to OAG. We recognized that these local government attorneys and legal staff possess both the skill set and the commitment to public service necessary to help those in need of legal services in our city. Learning from the experience of federal government attorneys, we realized that a formal program would enable staff attorneys to engage in this important work. From the start of this project, Attorney General Racine and his staff enthusiastically supported these efforts. We especially would like to thank Elaine Block, Ethics Counsel for OAG, for her ongoing work to create and finalize this policy. We are delighted that Chief Deputy Attorney General Natalie O. Ludaway will be representing OAG at our Awards Ceremony, where we will fete this significant achievement. Please join us on December 4 as we congratulate the OAG on such an exciting accomplishment. Alexis Applegate is Communications Director for Washington Council of Lawyers.
By Anne King Catalina Martinez, recipient of our 2018 Government Pro Bono Award and an attorney at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), stands out not only for her diligent work on her own pro bono matters, but also for her tireless efforts to recruit colleagues to pro bono advocacy. In fact, the opportunity to provide pro bono services spurred Catalina to become an attorney. As a paralegal, she assisted in advocating for low-income tenants facing eviction and found the work highly rewarding. Since joining SBA, Catalina jumped into pro bono advocacy right away and hasn’t slowed down since. For example, she has accepted numerous pro bono cases from the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center’s Advocacy and Justice Clinic and the Housing Right to Counsel Project. What’s more, she’s a regular volunteer at the D.C. Bar’s Advice and Referral Clinic. Last year, Catalina traveled to Florida and put in long hours assisting victims of Hurricanes Maria and Irma by helping them apply for loans to repair their homes and businesses. Catalina also sits on the board of a non-profit that fosters social development programs for displaced children. At SBA, Catalina has dedicated herself to bolstering the agency’s support for pro bono work. She wrote and implemented a pro bono protocol and policy, joined the Interagency Pro Bono Working Group, and established SBA’s first Pro Bono Committee, which now includes members in DC, Virginia and Chicago. Catalina has worked hard to spread awareness of (and enthusiasm for) pro bono opportunities at SBA by, for example, hosting pro bono events including briefings and clinic trainings. Catalina’s advocacy makes a real difference for her pro bono clients and her outreach and organizational efforts encourage her colleagues to make a difference as well. We are thrilled to recognize Catalina as the recipient of our 2018 Government Pro Bono Award. Join us on December 4 to congratulate Catalina and the other 2018 award winners! Anne King is a government attorney and a member of the board of directors of Washington Council of Lawyers.
By Jessalyn Schwartz On October 24th, Children’s Law Center (CLC) invited legal professionals and advocates to visit their Medical-Legal Partnership site at the Children’s Health Center of Anacostia, providing a window into the impactful Healthy Together program. One of the first medical-legal partnerships in the country, the Healthy Together program was built on the idea that many of the health issues facing children in the District were not solely medical in nature. Many social determinants of health that children face include inadequate housing, school exclusion, or food shortages, among other problems, and medical providers were not equipped to address them with medical treatment alone. Through the Healthy Together program, CLC has now placed attorneys in seven health clinics across DC to identify legal barriers to treatment—ones like poor housing conditions that cause asthma—and help bridge the gaps that exist for youth and families. Doctors are trained to perform screenings and ask questions about issues that may lead to legal intervention. On-site attorneys may have easier access to medical records, be able to obtain letters for reasonable accommodations, and advance their clients’ interests with the assistance of medical providers. The Healthy Together program is currently made up of eleven attorneys and two investigators who work closely with CLC’s pro bono attorneys, guardians ad litem, and the advocacy of third-party caregivers and parents to serve communities in need. There is also a very active policy team in place, tackling the systemic issues that attorneys and providers are seeing on the ground. A substantial piece of CLC’s focus in this work is the BUILD Health DC initiative, a partnership between CLC, the DC Department of Health, and IMPACT DC. BUILD Health DC is concentrated on the intersection of housing conditions and pediatric asthma disparities in the city and provides data resources, direct services, and tools to assist community stakeholders in improving health and wellness for children and families. Kathy Zeisel, the Senior Supervising Attorney onsite at the Anacostia clinic, reported that the medical-legal partnership has increased client access to legal counsel and allows providers to address more health issues and have a deeper understanding of legal issues facing their patients. In 2017, CLC’s medical-legal partnership directly assisted over 3,100 children and families, 57% of whom were from Wards 7 and 8. On a systemic level, CLC has released a comprehensive city-wide mental health plan for children, generated innovative mold legislation, and engaged in advocacy related to children with disabilities, housing conditions, and agency oversight in housing and healthcare provision. Pro bono attorney involvement is essential to the success of Healthy Together and other services provided by CLC. Jen Masi, CLC’s Pro Bono Director, reported that CLC takes on approximately 200 new cases each year in the areas of child custody, caregiver representation, special education, and housing conditions. CLC provides screenings, trainings and resources, and mentoring by experienced staff to ensure that pro bono counsel are equipped to zealously advocate for their clients. To learn more about getting involved, contact Jen Masi at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.childrenslawcenter.org/pro-bono.
By Sebastien Monzon Rueda Full of determination, moxie, and passion, Shelley Broderick has catapulted the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law (“UDC-DCSL”) to one of the nation’s premier public interest law schools. Under her twenty years of leadership as dean, she emphasized creating a quality legal program that focuses on public service and clinical practice. This mission to create social progress changed the face of the legal profession in the District of Columbia. After graduating from Georgetown University Law Center, Shelley began her academic career as clinical faculty. She directed the Criminal Defense Clinic at the Antioch School of Law for ten years representing more than 2,000 individuals charged with crimes in the District’s local and federal courts. She also co-directed the Legislation Clinic for four years, supervising students working primarily on health and safety, environmental justice, and criminal justice legislation with the D.C. Council. She also taught the Trial Advocacy Workshop at Harvard Law School for many years. As dean, Shelley secured for UDC-DCSL the highest level of American Bar Association Accreditation. She oversaw the $1.6 million library expansion project, and raised over $15 million for endowed chairs, scholarships, public interest fellowships, and clinical programs. Under her leadership, students served the legal needs of thousands of low-income District residents through the School’s nine legal clinics. Professor Broderick is a founder and long-time participant in the D.C. Consortium of Legal Services Providers, an organization committed to increasing the quantity, improving the quality, and coordinating the delivery of legal services to low-income D.C. residents. She also is serving her fourth term as a member of the D.C. Access to Justice Commission. This past summer, Shelley stepped down as dean of UDC-DCSL after 20 years at the helm. In her reflection, Shelley thanked her colleagues and fellow alumni for their generous and caring support during her time as dean. Shelley's leadership, encouragement and example have led and inspired new generations of public interest lawyers. From leading students at a march against injustice to proudly proclaiming, “Your tax dollars at work!” when talking about the law school, Shelley is truly a catalyst for public service. It is an honor to award the 2018 Presidents Award for Public Service to the incomparable, Shelley Broderick. Sebastien Monzon Rueda is a member of Washington Council of Lawyers.
Legal Aid and Whitman-Walker are hosting walk-in clinics for people who obtain regular prescription drugs and have Medicare Part D. The clinics will allow beneficiaries to meet with a lawyer and get a Medicare Part D analysis. The Open Season for Medicare Part D started on October 15. The Open Season runs through December 7 for individuals who do not also receive Medicaid or QMB, and through December 31 for low-income Medicare beneficiaries. It's always a good idea for beneficiaries to get a "Medicare Part D check up" every year to make sure that whatever Part D plan they are in will continue to cover their drugs next year. An English language flyer and a Spanish language flyer with the dates and locations of the clinics offered by Whitman-Walker Health can be viewed here. An English language flyer with the dates and locations of the clinics offered by the Legal Aid Society of DC can be found here. A Spanish language flyer with the dates and locations of the clinics offered by the Legal Aid Society of DC can be found here. Spread the word!