Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 55

THE PRO BONO EFFECT
Small business owners who live in Virginia or
Maryland and own a franchise in the District
wouldn't be afforded relief. Small businesses
that involve production rather than retail, or
that offer services, may not qualify either. Coe
says small business landlords have also been
overlooked in some ways by the legislative
protections that have been created. In many
respects, Coe sees his efforts as facilitating the
necessary alignment of interests between
tenants and landlords.
" Landlords and tenants need to work together
and understand that everybody's been
squeezed in one way or another and to find
a way, even outside of the government relief
programs, to work together and create
solutions that let tenants stay in spaces, "
Coe says. Informing parties of their rights
respective to one another can help align
interests, he adds.
Even before the federal and D.C. eviction moratoria
ended, there have been successes. One
small retailer approached the Commercial
Tenant Task Force about its landlord, which had
repeatedly demanded tens of thousands of
dollars in back rent to be paid before the end
of 2020, threatening to terminate the lease and
change the locks if the demand went unmet.
A volunteer attorney advised the tenant of the
tenants rights, informing the tenant that the
landlord had no legal basis for the demand or
the threat to change the locks. The business
owner drafted a letter to the landlord citing the
legal authority, and the discussion transitioned
into conversations about a rent payment plan.
A local spa needed to terminate its lease early
to avoid accumulating additional back rent
while out of operation. The landlord, unwilling
to negotiate, said the lease could not be terminated
early. A volunteer attorney at the D.C. Bar
Pro Bono Center informed the business of the
tenant's early termination rights under the
lease, which was instrumental in bringing the
landlord to the table to negotiate. The parties
agreed on an early termination at a discounted
rate, to the satisfaction of both parties.
In another instance, a beauty salon that had
subleased a portion of its space to another
beauty business wanted to evict for nonpayment
of rent during the pandemic. An attorney
informed the salon of the mandatory eviction
process, the D.C. eviction moratorium, and the
District's payment plan laws, which dissuaded
it from proceeding with an unlawful plan to
remove the tenant.
As protections and relief
lapse, there is a great
opportunity for attorneys to
contribute to the District's
cultural landscape by helping
to preserve its small
businesses, and to encourage
cooperation between
landlords and tenants.
Kulumani says it can be difficult to persuade
attorneys that small businesses need pro bono
representation. She and three colleagues
operate the Pro Bono Center's small business
programs, with the assistance of volunteers like
Coe. Lawyers and courts often assume that
businesses possess both the sophistication and
the resources to access necessary legal advice,
but that isn't always the case with small, local
businesses, Kulumani says, particularly small
businesses that seek out the Pro Bono Center's
assistance.
As protections and relief lapse, there is a great
opportunity for attorneys to contribute to the
District's cultural landscape by helping to
preserve its small businesses, and to encourage
cooperation between landlords and tenants.
" People should be aware that small businesses
have struggled through this time and that
they are still facing challenges and still have
problems that need to be resolved, " Coe says.
" It's challenging to start and grow a business in
the District, and those that have faced these
hurdles need our continued support. "
Reach D.C. Bar staff writer Jeremy Conrad at
JConrad@dcbar.org.
The D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center's Small
Business Legal Assistance Program is
recruiting volunteers. To find out how you
or your firm can get involved, email staff
attorney Christine Kulumani at
ckulumani@dcbar.org.
* ACROSS DC, HUNDREDS
OF SENIORS FACE
EVICTION.
* OTHERS NEED HELP
MAKING ENDS MEET BY
OBTAINING TAX CREDITS,
PUBLIC BENEFITS, AND
VETERANS BENEFITS.
* AND SO MANY NEED TO
DRAFT A WILL.
CAN THEY COUNT ON YOU?
Legal Counsel for the Elderly pro
bono attorneys changes lives.
As the pandemic continues, we
need your help more than ever.
Interested in joining our work to
protect, defend, and empower DC
seniors most in need?
Please email us at
vlp@aarp.org.
For more about LCE, visit
www.aarp.org/LCE.
LCE is an affiliate of AARP.
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021
* WASHINGTON LAWYER 55
http://www.aarp.org/LCE

Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021

Letter to Members
From Our President
Calendar of Events
Practice Management
Toward Well-Being
Reforming Conservatorship: A Battle Over Best Interests
Legal Deserts: No-Man’s Land of Affordable Legal Help
The Unfinished Work of Equal Justice for All
Pro Bono Mentoring for High-Impact Help
The Afghanistan Fallout: Broken Promises & Processes
Taking the Stand
ABA Delegate’s Corner
On Further Review
The Learning Curve
Member Spotlight
Worth Reading
Attorney Briefs
Disciplinary Summaries
Speaking of Ethics
The Pro Bono Effect
A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 1
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 2
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 3
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 4
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Letter to Members
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Toward Well-Being
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Reforming Conservatorship: A Battle Over Best Interests
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 11
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 12
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 13
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Legal Deserts: No-Man’s Land of Affordable Legal Help
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 15
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 16
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 17
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 18
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 19
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - The Unfinished Work of Equal Justice for All
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 21
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 22
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 23
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Pro Bono Mentoring for High-Impact Help
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 25
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 26
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 27
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - The Afghanistan Fallout: Broken Promises & Processes
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 29
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 30
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 31
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Taking the Stand
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 33
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - ABA Delegate’s Corner
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - On Further Review
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - The Learning Curve
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 37
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Member Spotlight
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 39
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 40
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 41
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 43
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 46
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 47
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Speaking of Ethics
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 49
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 50
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 51
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 52
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 53
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - The Pro Bono Effect
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 55
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Cover4
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