Legal Aid's Servant of Justice Awards Dinner brings the DC legal community together each year to celebrate those who “have demonstrated faithful dedication and remarkable achievement in ensuring that all persons have equal and meaningful access to justice.”

This year's Dinner raised a record $1.78 million for Legal Aid and honored two outstanding Servants of Justice: David Dantzic, a Partner at Latham & Watkins and former President of Legal Aid's Board of Trustees; and former DC Attorney General Karl Racine, now a Partner at Hogan & Lovells. We also honored Josephine Bahn of Cozen O'Connor with the Klepper Prize for Volunteer Excellence and former client Farhana Chowdhury and the Asian / Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project with the Partnership Award.

Thank you to all our generous supporters, including our leading "Trailblazer of Justice" sponsors Latham & Watkins and Kirkland & Ellis. We are also grateful for the leadership of our four Co-Chairs: Raul Fernandez, Jessica Hough, Natalie Ludaway, and Dana Remus.

David Dantzic, Servant of Justice Award

Dantzic and his family


David Dantzic (pictured with his family, second from right) is a Partner at Latham & Watkins LLP who has served on Legal Aid’s Board of Trustees since 2010, including as President from 2018 to 2021. David, along with his wife Martha, has set a new standard for philanthropy and generosity, not only challenging himself to give deeply, but pushing his colleagues at Latham and fellow Board members to do more. David was instrumental in helping guide the organization during the pandemic, both helping to prepare contingency plans while ensuring that Legal Aid’s programs continued to help meet the need. He has been a regular volunteer at Legal Aid’s in-person intake clinic, meeting with prospective clients to hear about their legal problems, issue spot, and help ensure that applicants were able to meet with Legal Aid attorneys where appropriate.

Some of us are meant to take down walls. And some of us are meant to knock out a single brick. And some of us are meant to bring those other people coffee but we all need to do something...I hope you each will spend some time in the days and weeks ahead thinking about what you want the community and the world you live in to look like. Ask yourselves what is your moral ambition? And then think about what skills and passions and resources you can bring to the work that has to be done to get there.

Karl Racine, Servant of Justice Award

Karl Racine with Vikram and Raul Fernandez


Karl Racine (left, pictured with Legal Aid Executive Director Vikram Swaruup, center, and Dinner Co-Chair Raul Fernandez), now a Partner at Hogan Lovells, was the first elected Attorney General of the District of Columbia.  He built the DC Attorney General’s office into one of the nation’s top public law firms. As Attorney General, Karl focused on preserving affordable housing, cracking down on slumlords, battling wage theft, protecting consumers, reforming the juvenile justice system, and safeguarding public integrity. Under Karl’s leadership, the Office of Attorney General won more than $200 million for District residents, including consumers, tenants, and workers. Before winning his first election to serve as Attorney General, Karl worked in both the public and private sector, serving as an associate counsel in the Clinton White House, before returning to Venable where he was the first African-American managing partner of a top-100 law firm. Karl also served on Legal Aid's Board from 2010-2011.

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.

Farhana Chowdhury and DVRP, Partnership Award


We presented the Partnership Award to the Asian / Pacific Domestic Violence Resource Project (DVRP) and Farhana Chowdhury, a former client of both Legal Aid and DVRP. Ms. Chowdhury was born in Bangladesh and had built a successful career and full life when she was pressured into an arranged marriage. Her husband moved them to the United States and was repeatedly abusive, preventing her from working and keeping the threat of deportation hanging over her head. 

Ms. Chowdhury spoke to a social worker at Mary’s Center, who let her know that she could seek help. She went to a shelter and was connected to the Asian/Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project (DVRP) which took on her case. DVRP moved her to a short-term rental and connected her to Legal Aid for help with a Civil Protection Order. Working with Legal Aid attorneys, Ms. Chowdhury was granted a CPO and secured alimony from her husband until she could find employment. DVRP helped Ms. Chowdhury obtain transitional housing and transportation assistance, all while continuing to provide intensive support. 

She began working at a daycare and took classes to improve her English. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the daycare laid their staff off, Legal Aid was able to step in once again and obtain essential health insurance and public benefits for Ms. Chowdhury. In addition, after many months of work with our Immigrants’ Rights Legal Services Project, Ms. Chowdhury secured US citizenship.  

Josephine Bahn, Klepper Prize for Volunteer Excellence


Josephine (Jo) M. Bahn was honored with the Klepper Prize for Volunteer Excellence. Jo is an associate at Cozen O’Connor and has been working with Legal Aid’s Pro Bono Program since 2018, when she was employed as a government attorney with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Over the past five years, she has zealously represented several clients in pro bono matters ranging from eviction defense to child custody and public benefits. She partners with a variety of legal services providers and represents clients in both DC and Maryland. 

Jo’s leadership in encouraging and inspiring others to do pro bono work goes beyond mentoring her colleagues and engaging summer associates. She regularly speaks at events designed to raise awareness about the need for more attorneys to do pro bono work, including events organized by Legal Aid. She also pens a column for the Washington Lawyer in which she often discusses her pro bono practice and encourages others to overcome their trepidation and get started with pro bono matters. 

Legal Aid's Impact

Organizational Information & Acknowledgments