Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 22

FEATURE

"

Love says that they've managed to navigate the transition to remote
work by hook and by crook. Coordinating with the Legal Aid Society and
the DC Consortium of Legal Services Providers helped to ensure that
coverage was available for a dramatic increase in inquiries. Love puts in
long days answering calls, but she also acknowledges the extraordinary
efforts of her peers. "I don't want to make it seem like we have an 'S' on
our chests," she says. "Everybody's doing it, you know?"

Legal Aid Society of D.C.

We have to do the legwork so
our clients don't have to do it.
We have to work hard so they
don't have to work as hard
finding our services.

MOBILIZING THE COMMUNITY
Collaborative efforts among legal services providers are proving beneficial to not only the individuals they serve but also to the court during the
crisis. Programs like LTLAN and OLAN help the court distribute information, work out technological issues relating to remote hearings, and
ensure that pro se litigants have access to advice and representation. The
provision of counsel helps to ensure that some matters can be resolved
without the court's intervention and that cases experience fewer delays.

DRAKE HAGNER
Legal Aid Society of the
District of Columbia

people are willing to take cases now, but the greater need will be when
the court lifts the moratorium on filings. So, we want to encourage pro
bono attorneys to train now and prepare so they are ready to take cases
when the time comes."

Other organizations are also working alongside government agencies to
respond to the crisis. The D.C. Access to Justice Commission was created
by the D.C. Court of Appeals in 2005 to help improve the ability of lowand moderate-income residents to access the civil justice system. Early in
the pandemic, the commission established the COVID-19 Task Force with
subcommittees focused on the most pressing legal needs of vulnerable
D.C. residents.

UNEMPLOYMENT & HUNGER CRISIS
Housing isn't the only issue being addressed through cooperative
efforts. Food insecurity is a problem many D.C. residents contend with
on a daily basis. As with other forms of public assistance, food stamp
applications are on the rise because of the COVID-19 crisis. Those who
are denied benefits can appeal the decision to the D.C. Office of
Administrative Hearings (OAH) and seek free legal advice from the OAH
Legal Assistance Network (OLAN).

Nancy Drane, executive director of the commission, applauded the vigor
with which the court, legal services organizations, and individuals sprang
into action to respond to the crisis, though she also noted that many
responses were siloed. Her organization quickly moved to facilitate
communication and collaboration. "The commission is uniquely situated
to bring people together. That's really our mission - to bring people
together and address barriers in the civil justice system."

OLAN operates a free legal hotline staffed by many of the same organizations involved in LTLAN, including Bread for the City, the Legal Aid
Society, Legal Counsel for the Elderly, and the Washington Legal Clinic
for the Homeless. In addition to providing valuable guidance to claimants, the network also offers online webinars and FAQs to educate the
community about COVID-19-related legal developments.

The project continues to grow and develop as the crisis progresses. "We
know what the needs are now, but we also know that they'll continue to
grow with the changes in the law and end of moratoriums, where we're
going to see an increased legal need," Drane says.

Drake Hagner, senior staff attorney of Legal Aid's Public Benefits Unit,
says that the program supports pro se litigants seeking assistance,
the service organizations offering help, and the court itself. "We wanted
to create a system where people wouldn't fall through the cracks and
they wouldn't have to call around, not only to OAH, but to the various
legal services providers that might help them while they are in a time
of crisis."

The District, particularly its most vulnerable residents, faces unprecedented challenges. Alongside these difficulties is the unique opportunity
for individual attorneys and law firms to take action and facilitate change.
Legal services organizations look to the community at large for support
continued on page 24

The OAH also hears unemployment claims. Tanya Love and Lolita
Martin, program director and attorney, respectively, at the Metropolitan
Washington Council of the AFL-CIO, represent those with hearings
before the OAH, but they also provide important information about
the OAH and the AFL-CIO's Claimant Advocacy Program. Confusion is
common, says Love. "People need to know how to file and what to file,"
she says. "It's about trying to educate and inform."

22 WASHINGTON LAWYER

*

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

Casey Gammon Photography

"There is absolutely a hunger crisis, and the OLAN hotline is just one way
that we try to work together on our side as service providers to make the
experience easier and more effective for people applying for food
stamps," Hagner says. "We have to change, we have to collaborate, we
have to do the legwork so our clients don't have to do it. We have to
work hard so they don't have to work as hard finding our services."

"

There's going to be a tremendous
need, and it's not a need that
can be filled by the legal services
community alone.
NANCY DRANE
D.C. Access to Justice Commission



Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020

Digital Extras
Your Voice
From Our President
Practice Management
Calendar of Events
Family Law Assistance Network feature
An Avalanche of Evictions feature
Pro Bono Partnerships Forged in Crisis feature
Help for Pro Se Litigants Feature
Qualified Immunity feature
Taking Legal Support to the Streets feature
Taking the Stand Turning off the White Noise of Systemic Racism
Taking the Stand Situational Principles Aren't Really Principles
On Further Review
The Learning Curve
Member Spotlight - A. Benjamin Spencer
Member Spotlight - Amber Harding
Worth Reading
Attorney Briefs
Speaking of Ethics
Disciplinary Summaries
Pro Bono Effect
A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 1
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 2
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 3
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 7
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Family Law Assistance Network feature
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 11
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 12
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 13
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - An Avalanche of Evictions feature
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 15
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 16
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 17
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Pro Bono Partnerships Forged in Crisis feature
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 19
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 20
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 21
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 22
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 23
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 24
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 25
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Help for Pro Se Litigants Feature
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 27
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 28
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 29
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Qualified Immunity feature
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 31
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 32
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 33
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Taking Legal Support to the Streets feature
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 35
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 36
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 37
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Taking the Stand Turning off the White Noise of Systemic Racism
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 39
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Taking the Stand Situational Principles Aren't Really Principles
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 41
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - On Further Review
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - The Learning Curve
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Member Spotlight - A. Benjamin Spencer
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Member Spotlight - Amber Harding
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 46
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 47
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 49
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 50
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Speaking of Ethics
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 53
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 54
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Pro Bono Effect
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 57
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 58
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 59
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 60
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 61
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 62
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 63
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 64
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 65
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 66
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - 67
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2020 - Cover4
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