Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 18

FEATURE
EVICTION
WRIT
QUASHING
Last Line
of Defense
for Tenants
By John Murph
W
hen Washington, D.C., phased out its
pandemic-related eviction moratorium
in July 2021, the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center
sprang into action. Faced with job loss,
rising health care costs, higher rents, and resumption
of evictions, the city's most economically vulnerable
residents needed more help than ever to stay in
their homes.
There was the parent with five children, all under the age of 18. A resident
who qualified for the federal government's Emergency Rental
Assistance Program but was also dealing with medical expenses for a
sick child. A client whose only support system died of COVID-19. These
were some of the people who found a lifeline through the D.C. Bar Pro
Bono Center's Eviction Writ Quashing Program, launched in fall 2021 as
a last-ditch effort to save tenants on the brink of eviction.
" Every one of my clients presented their own challenges, " says Gwen
Washington, pro bono attorney at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP.
" All of them tugged on my heart strings in one way or another - just
the trauma of what they were going through and the fear that they and
their children would not have a place to live. "
18 WASHINGTON LAWYER * NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2022
Washington was among volunteer attorneys who stepped up to support
the Pro Bono Center's writ quashing project, handling six cases and
winning all. For those who are familiar with Washington's work, it comes
as no surprise that she gravitated toward these " lost causes " in landlord
and tenant court. Before joining Cleary in fall 2021, Washington was
manager and legal aid attorney for tenant advocacy and support
at AARP's Legal Counsel for the Elderly and pro bono director at Rising
for Justice.
Washington also spent more than 14 years at the Public Defender Service
for the District of Columbia, where she worked in numerous areas, including
criminal, immigration, civil legal services, and mental health.
" When I came to Cleary, [the Pro Bono Center] approached me and a few
other law firm pro bono counsel about providing the last line of defense
for tenants facing eviction, " Washington says. " I was overjoyed to assist. "
As of mid-August, the Eviction Writ Quashing Program has handled 28
cases, thanks to volunteer attorneys like Washington.
RACE AGAINST THE CLOCK
Operating out of the Pro Bono Center's Advocacy & Justice Clinic, the
Eviction Writ Quashing Program was intended as a short-term stop-gap
measure. It would meet an immediate need to protect tenants when,
following the lifting of the moratorium, landlords resume filing eviction
notices and the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) begins executing evictions.
" This was such a unique project because we actually took cases after
the tenants had literally lost their cases, " says Adrian Gottshall, managing

Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022

Your Voice
From Our President
Practice Management
Toward Well-Being
Planting the Seeds: Pro Bono Helps Nonprofits Flourish
A Primer on D.C.’s New Debt Collection Law
Eviction Writ Quashing: Last Line of Defense for Tenants
Employment Law Implications of Dobbs
How Immigration Can Help Solve the U.S. Pilot Shortage
Ten Things You Might Have Forgotten Since the Pandemic
SPECIAL SECTION Young Lawyers Bring Passion to Public Interest Work
Attorney Briefs
Taking the Stand
Disciplinary Summaries
On Further Review
Member Spotlight
Worth Reading
Speaking of Ethics
The Learning Curve
The Pro Bono Effect
A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 1
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 2
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 3
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 4
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 6
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - Toward Well-Being
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - Planting the Seeds: Pro Bono Helps Nonprofits Flourish
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 11
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 12
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 13
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - A Primer on D.C.’s New Debt Collection Law
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 15
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 16
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 17
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - Eviction Writ Quashing: Last Line of Defense for Tenants
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 19
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - Employment Law Implications of Dobbs
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 21
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - How Immigration Can Help Solve the U.S. Pilot Shortage
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 23
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 24
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 25
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - Ten Things You Might Have Forgotten Since the Pandemic
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 27
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 28
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 29
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - SPECIAL SECTION Young Lawyers Bring Passion to Public Interest Work
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 31
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 32
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - Taking the Stand
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 35
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 37
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - On Further Review
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 39
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - Member Spotlight
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 41
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 43
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - Speaking of Ethics
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 45
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - The Learning Curve
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - The Pro Bono Effect
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 48
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 49
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 50
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - 51
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2022 - Cover4
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