On behalf of Legal Aid’s Board of Trustees, I am delighted to announce that we have selected Eric Angel to serve as Legal Aid’s new Executive Director. Eric succeeds Jonathan Smith, who served as Executive Director for eight years before leaving Legal Aid to serve as Chief of the Special Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division at the United States Department of Justice.
Eric has served as Legal Director of Legal Aid for nearly ten years, during which time he has shown tremendous leadership, both at the organization and in the legal services community. He brings an impressive range and depth of experience to the role of Executive Director, as well as a broad understanding of the civil legal services needs of D.C. residents.
Since 2001, Eric has served as Legal Aid’s Legal Director with responsibility for all aspects of the legal program. In that capacity, Eric has helped preside over a significant expansion and enhancement of Legal Aid’s program including a substantial increase in the number of, and the experience level of, attorney staff; the transformation of the office from one of generalists to specialists, enhancing the expertise of lawyering and advocacy; and the expansion into the community, including the creation of a domestic violence office at Greater Southeast Hospital (now United Medical Center), a medical-legal partnership with the Children’s National Medical Center clinic at the Town Hall Arts, Education and Recreation Center, a community office at the Anacostia Professional Building, and a court-based legal services program at the Landlord-Tenant Branch of the D.C. Superior Court. Legal Aid currently has thirty attorneys, who focus primarily on Housing, Family, Public Benefits, and Consumer Law. As readers of this blog know, Legal Aid also has a nationally-recognized appellate program, the Barbara McDowell Appellate Advocacy project.
A graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School, Eric joined Legal Aid in March 2001, after having served as an Associate Counsel to President William Jefferson Clinton. Prior to his two years at the White House Counsel’s Office, Eric spent four years as a Trial Attorney in the Civil Division in the United States Department of Justice handling civil litigation matters in federal district courts around the country. Eric began his career clerking for the Honorable Raymond J. Dearie of the United States Court for the Eastern District of New York. Eric serves as an adjunct faculty member teaching "Public Interest Lawyering" at the George Washington University Law School. At the 2010 D.C. Judicial and Bar Conference, Eric was named the co-recipient of the D.C. Bar Foundation's Jerrold Scoutt Prize.
For more than 75 years, Legal Aid has been making justice real for D.C.’s low-income community. We have great confidence that Eric will successfully continue Legal Aid’s mission to help the District’s most vulnerable residents obtain meaningful access to the courts.
Deborah B. Baum is a partner at the law firm of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP and serves as the President of Legal Aid's Board of Trustees.