Latham & Watkins LLP, and 21 individual supporters, including Latham partner David Dantzic and his wife Martha, pledged to contribute a combined $5 million to the Endowment, with most of the funds promised as part of the donors’ estate planning.
“It is critical, in a just nation, that low-income people have a lawyer to help them navigate a byzantine and sometimes arbitrary system,” said Mr. Dantzic. “Given all this, it is imperative that we secure Legal Aid’s future.”
Mr. Dantzic was presented with the Servant of Justice Award at Legal Aid DC’s Servant of Justice Awards in April in Washington.
“With this Endowment, the founding donors are helping secure Legal Aid’s long-term future, so that we can continue to serve District residents for many years to come,” said Vikram Swaruup, Legal Aid DC’s Executive Director. “But we are also experiencing surging need in the short-term, with clients in need of help with food stamps, evictions, and debt collection doubling compared to a year ago. That requires investment from the District government and other private donors in the immediate term, so we can ensure that no District resident goes without a lawyer when facing these life-changing legal challenges.”
The Endowment will fund Legal Aid’s general operating expenses, including the organization’s direct civil legal assistance for low-income DC residents who face legal challenges related to housing, domestic violence, public benefits, debt collection, foreclosure, immigration, and more. Latham & Watkins and several of the firm’s partners contributed $500,000 to help seed the Endowment.
“Latham & Watkins is proud to support David and our pro bono partners at Legal Aid DC in their work on behalf of our neighbors in the District who need a lawyer but can’t afford one,” said Daniel Lennon, Managing Partner of Latham’s Washington, D.C. office.