Welcome to the revamped East of the River Profiles Blog. This past summer, three new editors joined our team. They have been hard at work planning fresh and exciting articles for the coming year. We thought we would introduce the new team as we kick off another year of the EOTR blog. Without further ado, please meet Jessalyn Schwartz, Elizabeth Fischer Laurie, and Nikita West.
Jessalyn Schwartz, a DC-area native, joins the Washington Council of Lawyers’ East of the River Profiles Blog as a co-editor upon her return to the area after 8 years in Boston. Jessalyn is a 2013 graduate of Northeastern University School of Law, where she developed her passion for public interest law, especially in relation to child welfare, education, and civil rights. Following her graduation, Jessalyn entered a small practice and served as a court-appointed attorney for children and parents involved in child protection proceedings, students facing school offender and truancy petitions, and adults in mental health guardianship and commitment cases. Jessalyn is active in other professional organizations, writing Practice Point pieces for the American Bar Association’s Children’s Rights Litigation Committee and engaging in continuing education and networking events. She is excited to be back in Washington with the opportunity to serve her home community as she continues her legal career and to cheer on her DC sports teams (STANLEY CUP CHAMP CAPS!!!!!). Jessalyn lives in Northeast with her husband and kitties and is an avid crossword enthusiast and baker. Jessalyn is the social media arm of the editing board and looks forward to spreading the word about the incredible legal resources and advocacy efforts in place to serve Wards 7 & 8.
Elizabeth Fischer Laurie serves as a Lead Attorney Advisor for the Departmental Appeals Board (DAB), Civil Remedies Division (CRD) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in Washington, D.C. CRD’s jurisdiction includes Medicare provider and supplier enrollment cases, nursing home enforcement actions, and Office of the Inspector General practitioner exclusion cases. Elizabeth serves as a member of the management team, performing a variety of tasks, including processing all incoming requests for administrative law judge hearings, responding to congressional and FOIA requests, leading a team of attorneys, and providing input on strategic decisions. She also assists ALJs with case management and drafting. Prior to joining CRD, Elizabeth served as a Process Management Attorney in the Medicare Operations Division at DAB, where she handled a docket of over 29,000 cases; as a Program Analyst for the Assistant Secretary for Financial Resources at HHS, where she managed the Indian Health Services budget portfolio; and as a Realty Services Specialist for the General Services Administration. She joined the government as a Presidential Management Fellow in 2012. Because of her love for public service and volunteering, Elizabeth participates in a number of activities outside of work that provide value to the D.C. community. In addition to serving as co-editor of the EOTR blog, she has volunteered with Young Government Leaders for the past six years, where she currently serves as the Chief Financial Officer, and has served as a mentor through several formal programs. Elizabeth lives in Alexandria with her husband; loves SoulCycle, yoga, and begrudgingly attends [solidcore] once a week; attends as many live music and theater performances in the D.C. area as she can, and participates in numerous book clubs.
Nikita West serves as the DC Volunteer Lawyer’s Project’s Roxana Cannon Arsht Fellow in the Child Advocacy Program and Domestic Violence Program. During law school, Ms. West clerked in the Narcotics Division in Cook County Circuit Court and for the Chief Judge in the Chancery Division. Ms. West earned her J.D. from John Marshall Law School, her B.A. from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, and received an LL.M in International Criminal Law. She has also done legal volunteer work and research in Namibia, Myanmar and Haiti.
We want to thank our inaugural editor, Caroline Fleming, for her dedication, hard work, and expert editorial pen. We so appreciate your help launching a forum for highlighting the great work of pro bono and public-interest lawyers in the East of the River neighborhoods of DC. Onward!