Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia

Since 1932, offers legal services to DC residents. Provides direct representation, outreach and education.
Organization website

Primary geographic focus: District of Columbia
Organization type(s): Provider

Legal Aid was created in 1932 with the goal of making justice real – in individual and systemic ways – for persons living in poverty in the District of Columbia.

For more than 80 years, Legal Aid lawyers have provided a continuum of legal services to clients in the areas of domestic violence/family, housing, public benefits, and consumer law. In addition to providing direct representation, we also help clients avoid unnecessary legal entanglements through outreach and education, and help them resolve their own disputes with advice and other brief assistance.

Legal Aid also works to identify systemic issues that have an impact beyond an individual client. In such cases, we often seek structural solutions – from changes in law or regulatory schemes to a reform of government or court practice – to benefit our client community. And our nationally-recognized Barbara McDowell Appellate Advocacy Project, which pursues an anti-poverty agenda, litigates important cases affecting persons living in poverty before the D.C. Court of Appeals every year.



As the nation’s capital booms, poor tenants face eviction over as little as $25

Terrence McCoy
Washington Post
August 8, 2016
Brookland Manor’s proposed eviction of Brittany Gray over an amount many Washingtonians spend on a weekday lunch illustrates the ongoing drama of gentrification in a city and a nation still coming to terms with its consequences.


D.C. is evicting tenants for no good reason

Washington Post
September 8, 2016
That lawyers for the city didn’t take the time to differentiate between the two is concerning and must be addressed by city officials.

News Story

D.C. Council to consider free legal help for poor residents in housing cases

Jasper Scherer
Washington Post
October 14, 2016
The bill would create a funding stream for the D.C. Bar Foundation, the nonprofit group that provides most legal aid to D.C. residents involved in civil cases.

News Story

Low-Income Tenants in D.C. May Get Free Legal Help

Oscar Perry Abello
October 18, 2016
In Washington, D.C., the District Council is now considering legislation to provide free legal counsel to low-income tenants in certain housing cases.

News Story

Hate Your Shady Landlord? Here’s Something to Celebrate

David Dayen
August 23, 2017
Cities across America are taking steps to help low-income people get lawyers to fight eviction in court.

News Story

Cities Are Guaranteeing Tenants Access To A Lawyer To Help Them Fight Eviction

Eillie Anzilotti
Fast Company
August 24, 2017
In eviction cases, 90% of landlords have a lawyer, and 90% of tenants do not. To fight gentrification and displacement, cities are trying to correct that imbalance.

News Story

These Cities Are About to Make It Harder for Landlords to Evict People

Jimmy Tobias
Nation, The
August 28, 2017
Their plan? Provide access to lawyers for as many low-income renters as possible.

News Story

Lawsuit alleges widespread problems in District-run food stamp program

Ann E. Marimow
Washington Post
August 28, 2017
Low-income D.C. residents are not getting the help they need to buy groceries because of widespread problems with the District’s food stamp program, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court on Monday.

News Story

Going To Court Without A Lawyer Was Always Hard. The Pandemic Has Made It Much Harder.

Zoe Tillman
May 15, 2020

Audio , News Story

This fall, back-to-school may block back-to-work for many parents

August 18, 2020

Blog Post

What to Do With Your Bonus

Susan Beck
December 22, 2015
Here's a suggestion for something else to do with a teeny-tiny sliver of that bonus money: Write a generous check to a civil legal aid group.

News Story

An Old Misdemeanor Kept Maurice Alexander From Accessing Housing

Nadia Pflaum
Washington City Paper (DC)
November 13, 2015
How an year-old misdemeanor can be a barrier to housing.


Protecting structured settlements in D.C.

Heather Latino, Thomas Papson
Washington Post
September 11, 2015
DC must pass stronger laws to protect people with structured settlements against insurance companies.

News Story

Latham Tops Wilmer in Fundraising Campaign for Legal Aid

Zoe Tillman
National Law Journal
August 6, 2015
Private law firms engage in a friendly battle over fundraising for local civil legal aid program.

This page last modified: Wed, July 6, 2016 -- 4:17 pm ET