What we do

Legal Aid provides direct representation to clients in four substantive practice areas and also handles appeals on a broad range of poverty law issues through its nationally-recognized Barbara McDowell Appellate Advocacy Project.

Housing Law

We help preserve safe, affordable housing for District residents by helping clients address housing code violations, avoid wrongful eviction, and fight illegal rent increases. We also assist public housing tenants preserve their subsidies.

Domestic Violence/Family Law

We help survivors of domestic violence obtain short- and long-term safety and stability for themselves and their children by securing protective and custody orders. We also help clients obtain fair, accurate child support orders for their children – support that is particularly vital to families living in poverty – as well as assist in representing parents in custody disputes.

Public Benefits Law

We help District residents gain access to, and maximize their options for, health care and other essential safety-net benefits, such as securing unemployment benefits and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

Consumer law

We work to protect limited income and assets for our clients by focusing on preventing foreclosure and protecting vulnerable individuals from abusive debt collection practices that can be financially devastating for those living at or below the poverty line.

Appellate advocacy

Our appellate project, recognized by the National Legal Aid and Defender Association as a “model of excellence,” pursues an anti-poverty agenda and litigates important cases before the D.C. Court of Appeals every year. The outcomes of these cases have the potential to impact hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals living in poverty in the District.

Policy Advocacy

By working with government agencies to change policies and regulations, pursuing budget recommendations or legislative initiatives, and working to reform practices in the high-volume courts that adjudicate our clients’ disputes, we are constantly seeking systemic solutions to the problems facing our client community.

Learn more about the cases that Legal Aid handles