Coming Together for Our Neighbors

Dear Friends of Legal Aid,

When I accepted the offer to join Legal Aid DC just under a year ago, I knew I was joining a great organization with a reputation for making an impact where it matters most. What I didn’t know as well was the way that the DC community comes together to help expand our work during a time of great need.

I’m thinking of our partners at the Washington Literacy Center, FRESHFARM Markets, and the DC Public Library, who have all embraced our new Community Lawyering Project to bring Legal Aid lawyers and staff directly into communities where we can help address legal problems before they turn into crises.

I’m also thinking of our supporters in the private bar and philanthropy who found new ways to secure Legal Aid’s vital services both now and for the future: David and Martha Dantzic for founding the Making Justice Real Endowment, philanthropist MacKenzie Scott for her generous donation through the Yield Giving initiative, and the 5,000+ firms, companies, and people who contributed this past year.

And I’m thinking of the DC Council, the Access to Justice Commission, the DC Bar Foundation, and our colleagues across the legal services community who came together to protect public funding that ensures tens of thousands of DC residents receive legal assistance each year from potentially devastating cuts.

These efforts matter because they help ensure that District residents facing life-altering legal crises don’t do it alone. Our work together ensured that in a time of surging need, we could do more. Indeed, Legal Aid has served 10% more people in 2023 than we did in 2022.

It has been truly incredible to see my colleagues in action this year, achieving great results for their clients, and using every tool at their disposal – whether that’s standing up in court to represent a tenant who walked into our courthouse office an hour before or testifying before the DC Council to advocate for a law that will make it easier for domestic violence survivors to get divorced – to change the District for the better.

In his speech accepting our 2023 Servant of Justice Award, my former boss, Attorney General Karl Racine said:

“I've always thought that Legal Aid has done something so well. You tell the story from the perspective of the client, and by elevating the client not only do we all get a sense of the vulnerabilities that lie just beneath the surface, but we also get a clear sense as to what we might do to help our fellow neighbor.”

I hope that we’ve lived up to that sentiment in this report, which tells the stories of our clients and the work my colleagues and our pro bono partners did with them this year.

Thank you to all our supporters and partners, to Legal Aid’s indefatigable staff, and especially to our clients, who put their trust in us every day.

Sincerely,

Vikram signature

Vikram Swaruup
Executive Director

Legal Aid's Impact

Organizational Information & Acknowledgments

By the Numbers

14%
Increase in Client Intakes
102
Legal Aid Staff Members
1,300
Full Rep Cases