Legal Aid announced today that we have named Heather Latino and Jennifer Mezey as the organization’s first Deputy Legal Directors.
Heather and Jennifer will work with Chinh Le, who has been Legal Director at Legal Aid since July 2011. Over the past two decades, we have grown our legal program from eight attorneys to 56 paid attorneys on staff, impacting more than 10,000 people in 2018.
“Our existing supervisors and Legal Director have been facing increasing challenges to meet the organization’s administrative and managerial demands,” Executive Director Eric Angel said. “We are confident that Heather’s and Jennifer’s elevation into these new roles will greatly increase our ability to meet the legal program’s needs and help us expand and improve our services as we continue to grow in the future.”
Heather Latino served as Supervising Attorney in Legal Aid’s Consumer Law Unit from 2011 to 2016, during which time she presided over significant growth of our consumer practice area, helping to establish courthouse projects on both the debt collection and foreclosure calendars. She rejoined Legal Aid in September 2017 as a Supervising Attorney in the Housing Law Unit after a one-year hiatus when she moved to Moscow with her family. Throughout her time at Legal Aid, Heather has provided significant leadership on a wide range of access to justice issues and has served on several access to justice committees, including the DC Superior Court Landlord and Tenant Working Group; the Access to Justice High-Volume Courts Sub-Committee; and the DC Bar’s Pro Bono Task Force’s Housing Working Group. Before coming to Legal Aid in 2011, Heather was a partner at a successful plaintiff-side civil litigation firm in Montana and chaired the Montana Trial Lawyers Association’s Public Service Committee. Heather earned both her BA and JD from the University of Montana.
Jennifer Mezey joined Legal Aid in 2004 as a Supervising Attorney in the Public Benefits Law Unit. Jennifer has presided over much growth in our public benefits practice over her nearly 15 years with the organization, helping grow the unit to its present 11 attorneys, as well as helping to start the annual Medicare Part D Project more than 10 years ago. Jennifer has been recognized as a Champion of Change by the DC Primary Care Association. As with Heather, Jennifer briefly left Legal Aid in April 2011 to serve as Senior Counsel at the National Women’s Law Center but returned to Legal Aid again in August 2011. Before coming to Legal Aid in 2004, Jennifer worked as a National Association for Public Interest Law (now Equal Justice Works) fellow and attorney at the National Women’s Law Center. She earned her BA from Oberlin College, a Master in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School, and her JD from the University of Michigan Law School.
Heather and Jennifer will transition into their new responsibilities as we look to fill the vacancies that their elevation to this new role will create.