Legal Aid DC will present former District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine and David Dantzic, Partner at Latham & Watkins LLP with the organization’s 2023 Servant of Justice Awards for their persistent and remarkable pursuits on behalf of justice for residents across the District.
Legal Aid DC will present the awards at their 2023 Servant of Justice Awards Dinner on the evening of Wednesday, April 19. The event will bring together public servants and attorneys from across the District to recognize Legal Aid DC’s work and the awardees for their service. The awards recognize those who have demonstrated faithful dedication and remarkable achievement in ensuring that all people have equal and meaningful access to justice.
“Legal Aid isn’t just an organization. It’s a commitment to our most vulnerable residents that they won’t have to face life-changing legal moments without a lawyer by their side,” said Legal Aid DC Executive Director Vikram Swaruup. “AG Racine and David Dantzic exemplify what it means to be true servants of justice. They have not only directly advocated for residents who have been left behind, but they have also fought to grow access to counsel for our neighbors in need of lawyers.”
In addition to the awards, at the event, Mr. Swaruup and Legal Aid DC will discuss the devastating impacts of the proposed 60% budget cut to civil legal services in the Mayor’s 2024 budget and steps the legal community can take to respond to that proposal. A 60% cut to legal services could result in a 25% reduction in Legal Aid DC’s services, just as residents experience a surge in need, with rising rents and food costs as well as the end of pandemic-era foreclosure, debt collection, and eviction moratoria.
Karl A. Racine, partner at Hogan Lovells who served as Attorney General of Washington, D.C. from 2015 – 2022, worked closely with Legal Aid DC during his time as attorney general as they both advocated for vulnerable residents. When the Office of the Attorney General protected low-income tenants and preserved affordable housing by suing neglectful landlords, Legal Aid DC often represented individual tenants advocating for their rights. They also worked closely together to successfully pass legislation to strengthen protections for DC consumers against unfair and abusive debt collection practices.
“Legal Aid DC provides life-impacting work for so many residents in need of legal services. The organization served as a critical partner for the Office of the Attorney General during my tenure, and I know that partnership continues,” said former Attorney General Karl Racine. “I’m honored to have been able to work alongside Legal Aid DC’s talented and committed attorneys to stand up for vulnerable residents.”
David Dantzic 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. Mr. Dantzic has set a new standard for philanthropy and generosity, not only challenging himself to give deeply, but pushing the District’s legal community to do more for the District’s most vulnerable residents. Together with his wife Martha, they are among the leading lifetime donors to Legal Aid DC. Mr. Dantzic helped lead Legal Aid’s Board and the organization through the pandemic and an Executive Director transition, a period during which Legal Aid continued to grow its impact. He has also been a regular volunteer at Legal Aid’s in-person intake clinic, meeting with prospective clients to hear about their legal problems and ensure that applicants receive the legal assistance they need.
"I am humbled, honored, and grateful to receive this recognition from Legal Aid,” said David Dantzic. “Legal Aid has come so far over the last decade, and it’s been a privilege to play a small part in helping so many of our neighbors here in DC who need legal assistance.”
Legal Aid DC will also present the Partnership Award to client Farhana Chowdhury and the Asian/Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project. Legal Aid worked with DVRP and Ms. Choudhry – an immigrant survivor of domestic violence – to help her seek a civil protection order and forge a pathway to citizenship.
Josephine M. Bahn at Cozen O'Connor will receive Legal Aid’s Klepper Prize for Volunteer Excellence for her work over the last five years representing clients pro bono in cases ranging from child custody to public benefits. She has also mentored and led her law firm’s summer associates in instilling the importance of pro bono work to these new lawyers.
Details for media interested in covering the dinner:
What: Legal Aid DC’s Servant of Justice Awards Dinner
When: Wednesday, April 19 starting at 7:15pm
Where: JW Marriot – 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Media RSVP: Rob Pergament – email@example.com
The 2022 Servant of Justice Awards Dinner honored Servant of Justice award recipients Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center, and Daniel Jarcho, partner at Alston & Bird LLP and former trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice.