Legal Aid is aided in its mission by the work of hundreds of lawyers and law firms across the District who provide pro bono legal services. Thanks to their work, we can help even more people and families than our staff could otherwise take on.

Private practice and government attorneys continually step up and accept cases referred to them, preventing families from being evicted, securing benefits and health care for people who can no longer work due to disability, and more. All cases are initially screened by Legal Aid, and our attorneys serve as mentors as the matter moves forward, answering questions, providing sample pleadings, and helping with legal and strategic issues. 

Brenda Green
Brenda Green, who was referred to Miller & Chevalier for pro bono representation by Legal Aid.


Extending Legal Aid’s Practice Areas Through Pro Bono

When Brenda Green was notified in April 2023 that the DC government was seeking unpaid taxes for 2010-2013, she realized she must have made a mistake on those returns and was determined to solve the issue and pay what was owed. The sum was higher than she could take care of at once, but she assumed she could get a payment plan. Ms. Green appeared at her first court hearing unrepresented, and the judge recommended that she call Legal Aid to help guide her through the process. 

When Ms. Green called the DC Debt Collection Defense Hotline, operated by Legal Aid and Tzedek DC, Legal Aid Volunteer Staff Attorney Tom Papson evaluated her case. Because the matter was outside our core practice areas, Tom notified Sylvia Soltis, Legal Aid’s Director of Pro Bono, Volunteer, and Intern Programs, that we needed to find a pro bono tax attorney and continued helping Ms. Green prepare in the meantime.

While Sylvia worked to place the case, Ms. Green told Tom that she had every intention of paying the amount she owed, she just needed a payment plan. He reviewed her documents and suggested that she might want to wait because there was a chance that the DC government had incorrectly calculated the amount owed and not properly taken certain deductions and credits into account. 

Around Mother’s Day 2023, Ms. Green got “the best Mother’s Day gift” she’d ever received, as she said later: experienced tax attorneys Andrew Beaghley and George Hani from Miller & Chevalier had agreed to take her case. Andrew determined that the amount the DC government claimed Ms. Green owed was in fact incorrect. With his advocacy, the DC government corrected the amount and agreed to a payment plan that Ms. Green could afford. 

Ms. Green was relieved. She said that she felt like she was in the “best of care with Andrew and George” and that she “couldn’t even put into words what would have happened if they had not gotten involved.” 

Andrew Beaghley
For many, the legal system can feel daunting and as if the cards are stacked against you. Legal Aid provides unique pro bono opportunities to support and guide deserving community members so that they may continue in their own journey of making a real difference for the people they serve.
Andrew Beaghley

Helping DC Renters and Homeowners Access Pandemic Relief

Miller & Chevalier is one of Legal Aid’s strongest pro bono partners. In addition to taking on Ms. Green’s case, Layla Asali, Chair of the firm’s tax department, organized two programs that connected low-income DC residents with federal pandemic relief funding. 

In 2021, Miller & Chevalier attorneys assisted DC renters with applications for the STAY DC program, the District’s rental assistance program under the federal American Rescue Plan. As is often the case with the government programs, the application was onerous, and a significant percentage of renters had attempted to submit applications on their own, but were unable to complete them. Volunteer attorneys met with prospective applicants, and helped them complete their applications, ensuring that they had an opportunity to obtain rental assistance. 

Then, in 2023, Miller & Chevalier built on that experience to help homeowners with a similar program, the Homeowners Assistance Fund. Volunteer lawyers worked with eligible applicants to complete online applications, locate and upload the relevant documents, and follow up with mortgage holders and utilities to provide assurance that the application had been completed and was pending. Layla worked closely with Legal Aid Senior Staff Attorney Shirley Horng to make sure the clients’ applications were completed and that the funds were received and paid to the appropriate parties. 

Miller Chev trio
From left to right: Layla Asali, Kitty Wach, and George Hani of Miller & Chevalier. Kitty has served as Pro Bono Counsel for Miller & Chevalier since 1999 and previously worked as an attorney at Legal Aid DC.


Legal Aid's Impact

Organizational Information & Acknowledgments