(March 25, 2021, Washington, DC) — Steptoe has joined DC Represents, a coalition led by the DC Access to Justice Commission's COVID-19 Task Force to call on the local legal community to expand its pro bono commitment to address COVID-19-related legal needs in the District of Columbia.
Before the pandemic, one in six DC residents lived in poverty, and COVID-19 has exacerbated already extremely difficult economic situations for many. DC Represents is mobilizing law firms, individual practices, government attorneys, corporations, associations, law schools, and public interest organizations to increase their commitments to provide pro bono services in partnership with local legal services organizations.
"Health needs are naturally front and center during a public health emergency, but this pandemic and our response to it have led to mushrooming legal needs too," said DC Mayor Muriel Bowser. "We know that when people are represented by counsel they are much more likely to succeed. The important work of DC Represents will play a tremendous role in our city's recovery."
DC Represents participating organizations work with legal services providers to provide pro bono representation in legal matters including eviction, domestic violence, debt, children and families, wills and probate, and access to unemployment insurance and public benefits.
"The COVID-19 crisis has worsened a civil justice crisis that our District neighbors faced even before the pandemic," said Prof. Peter Edelman, chair of the DC Access to Justice Commission. "The commitment of pro bono lawyers to help meet the extraordinary need right here in our community is absolutely essential."
DC Represents is calling on the local legal community to do more to address the need for legal representation in the District in ways that include:
- Creating signature projects and new initiatives
- Designing DC focused pro bono teams
- Increasing individual representation
- Reaching out to the community to discuss their challenges and legal needs
To learn more about DC Represents, and to join the effort, visit here.
In more than 100 years of practice, Steptoe has earned an international reputation for vigorous representation of clients before governmental agencies, successful advocacy in litigation and arbitration, and creative and practical advice in structuring business transactions. Steptoe has more than 500 lawyers and other professional staff across offices in Beijing, Brussels, Chicago, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington. For more information, visit www.steptoe.com.