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JUNE 2021 


On June 15, 2021, 57 legal aid providers, funders, community activists, social service providers, and other stakeholders met for the first time to build a network that would help to ensure that every DC resident has a fair and equitable experience with civil legal aid. It was facilitated by Kelly Bates and Curtis Ogden of the Interaction Institute for Social Change (IISC), which works to build collaborative capacity in individuals, organizations, and networks working for social justice and racial equity.

The goals of this first convening were to generate:

  • Greater understanding of the value of network building for civil legal aid;

  • A common analysis of the challenges and opportunities for civil legal aid;

  • Movement toward a shared vision of what is possible as a network to address these challenges and harness opportunities; and

  • Next steps, including actionable ways to collaborate moving forward.


We exceeded these goals, officially established the DC Legal Aid Transformations Network, and invited attendees to participate in the first network survey by Visible Network Labs. The purpose of the survey is to generate data on the connections and trust between participants and provide guidance on targeting network support moving forward. 

You can learn more about the network by reading the following articles from DCBF's newsletter:




The second convening was held on September 14, 2021. With three months under our belt as the DC Legal Aid Transformations Network, attendees were eager to come together and regain traction from the June meeting. During this convening, Visible Network Labs conducted an in-depth presentation on “How You Can Use Network Science and Network Survey Results.” This presentation helped set up network members for success when reviewing their data from the network survey they completed in late June.

During this two-hour session, conveners deemed that having desired outcomes were needed and beneficial for each convening. Going forward, we will establish desired outcomes prior to each meeting to help us focus and hit our targets. 

The desired outcomes for this convening were to have:


  • A greater sense of connection, trust, and familiarity with one another and our work;

  • A greater understanding of the value of network building for civil legal aid;

  • A shared understanding of the results of the Visible Network Lab survey and its implications for this network;

  • A list of the next steps and an evaluation of this meeting.


The last convening for 2021 was held on December 15. It was a full-day event for network members, who discussed various topics, including transforming systems from gatekeeping to gateways, learning to move beyond silos, and prioritizing listening to clients’ needs while generating a human-centered approach. The conversation also focused on the upstream dream of dismantling civil legal aid and self-reflecting on advancing racial equity in our organizations, including our leadership.

The desired outcomes for this convening were:

  • Greater connectivity among network participants

  • Alignment around the shared purpose of this network

  • Alignment around some systemic intervention points for this network to organize around, looking through the lens of “justice determinants of wellbeing” 

MARCH 2022 


On our March 9,  2022 Quarterly Convening, 40 Network members built community, heard presentations from Network members, and deepened our understanding of how to transform legal services by focusing on "upstream" approaches and centering anti-racism, wellbeing and anti-poverty. Kirra Jarratt shared about the ongoing work of the Design Team, the Network Manager hiring process, and plans for client focus groups in April to improve the intake/referral process.


Members discussed the difference between "upstream" work, which identifies problems at their root cause, and "downstream" work, which addresses immediate needs that are the symptoms of those root causes, and people wrote down their expansive visions of upstream work, as well as the barriers to those visions becoming real.

JUNE 2022 


We held our 1st Anniversary Convening for the DC Legal Aid Transformations Network. We welcomed several first-time conveners making this the largest convening to date. Then, Beth Mellen, Lori Leibowitz, Lauren Taylor, and Maya Brennan presented the Upstream Dream: Eviction Diversion or Building a Unicorn in 3 Acts. We had some thought-provoking small group breakout sessions that have now become subnetworks. If you missed the convening, here are the participant agenda and convening slides that will give you an idea of what we covered. 


Lastly, we also launched a subnetwork for intake specialists; if you are interested in joining this community, email

September 2022 


On September 14, 2022, the DC Legal Aid Transformations Network welcomed over 58 new conveners as we held our September Convening.  It was a full afternoon!  Our agenda included an in-depth update on the progress of the Coordinated Intake and Referral System; a celebration of milestones and accomplishments; and Amanda Beacon from


Visible Network Labs gave us a detailed overview of the upcoming network survey, which will produce our updated network map.  Our breakout sessions allowed participants to build new connections or strengthen the ones they previously made, which will help further the work of the subnetworks.


An emerging subnetwork was introduced:  Cross-Cutting/Cross-Issues work to help clients with multiple legal needs, and the expertise is at a different organization. If you missed this one, we sure hope you join us for the December Convening.  

December 2022 


The final convening for 2022 was held on Wednesday, December 14. Ariel Levinson-Waldman, Founding President, and Director-Counsel at Tzedek DC and Co-Chair of the Consortium, shared on the Coordinated Intake and Referral System (CIR), and Joseph Schieffer, CEO of A2J Tech, provided an update on the technology infrastructure.  The subnetworks worked diligently and began planning for 2023 while chipping away at tensions.   For the first time, we shared some pre-convening reading material and a special video with information on the 2nd annual DC Legal Aid Transformations Network Survey by Amanda Beacom, Visible Network Labs.


Below are some milestones and accomplishments of the DC LATN and CIR in 2022:


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