By Caroline Fleming
This January, Neighborhood Legal Services Program is partnering with DC Public Library to launch Unlocking Employment, a new series of free, community-based legal clinics. The clinics, which will be staffed by dedicated NLSP personnel, are supported by a grant from the LSC Pro Bono Innovation Fund; the grant will enable half-day pro bono legal clinics several times a month at two library branches: Bellevue/William O. Lockridge in Ward 8, and Benning/Dorothy I. Height Library in Ward 7. Volunteer lawyers will help low-income job-seekers address barriers to employment, including background checks, driver’s-license revocation, and discrimination.
In helping applicants overcome legal barriers to getting jobs, the clinic seeks to help more DC residents get meaningful, long-term jobs. NLSP also looks to provide more neighborhood-based sources of legal assistance east of the river.
The clinics started on January 9, and community members do not need an appointment or photo ID. They will be staffed not only by lawyers but by a librarian who can help jobseekers take advantage of the public library’s many free jobseeker programs—including training in software, resume writing, skill building, and professional development.
To learn more about volunteering as an individual or law firm (including getting training), please call or email Heather Hodges at (202) 269-5115 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Caroline Fleming (@caroline_in_dc) is a government lawyer and the Editor-in-Chief of East of the River Profiles.