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DC Legal Aid Transformations Network 

 

 

 

 

 

Click below to RSVP for our virtual meeting on March 8, 2023, from 1-4 pm. 

 

 

 

Purpose

Advancing a user-centered system, grounded in wellbeing, anti-racism, and anti-poverty, starting with creating a coordinated intake and referral system in DC and evolving into a “network of networks” for connectivity, alignment, and action.

Why are we here?

It’s challenging to get legal help in the District of Columbia.  Too many people in crisis need help, and we don’t make that easy for them. It is understood that wealth and power have the advantage in civil court. Therefore, in June 2021, the DC Bar Foundation brought together nearly 60 legal aid providers, funders, community activists, social services providers, government, technology, and other stakeholders to discuss how to reimagine a more equitable civil justice system in DC. The DC Legal Aid Transformations Network (DC LATN) grew out of this convening. ​

Who are we?

DC LATN consists of various sectors: legal aid, funders, community activists, health and social services, allied partners, academia, government, philanthropy, media, banking, faith-based, arts, business, and other stakeholders all working together to ensure the legal aid system in DC is accessible and seamless for all clients. 

What Do We Do?

Built on social connectedness and coordination among all legal aid providers and allied partners, DC LATN will:

  1. Ensure that the stability and safety of our most vulnerable communities are at the forefront of every decision to better serve them;

  2. Empower our most vulnerable District residences with resources to navigate difficult life circumstances without guilt or shame;

  3. Serve as advocates, leveraging our collective wisdom to guarantee every resident has access to legal aid.

Emerging Subnetworks

During the June 2022 Convening, small groups gathered to explore how they could better collaborate through the lens of legal aid focus areas.  As a result, we formed nine subnetworks to jump-start our “network of networks.”

  • Consumer Protection / Small Business

  • Housing

  • Domestic Violence /Sexual Assault Victim Services

  • Civil Implications of the Criminalization of Communities of Color

  • Public Benefits

  • Immigration

  • Employment

  • Education

  • Family/Probate

 

We invite you to join a subnetwork that interests you. To be added, please email innovation@dcbarfoundation.org.

What Are Our Immediate Priorities?

  1. Develop and launch a Coordinated Intake and Referral system, which will serve as a point of entry to easily connect our most vulnerable Districts residents with a civil legal services provider, that can offer appropriate representation and/or legal resources and information.

  2. Support our subnetworks to expand and develop their priorities for change. 

 

How Will We work?

Through quarterly convenings, small group collaborations, cross-organizational coordination, and community feedback, we will provide resources that benefit our most vulnerable District residents as early as possible in the areas where assistance is needed. (i.e., legal services, housing, childcare, etc.).

The group meets quarterly on the second Wednesday of the month to increase collaboration and transform the delivery of legal aid in the District. Click below to RSVP for our virtual meeting on March 8, 2023, from 1-4 pm. 

 

 

 

 

Highlights From Past Convenings 

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:

More Convening Highlights Here

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NETWORK UPDATES:

  • In 2021, the Foundation partnered with Visible Network Labs to create a map of DC's civil legal aid network. This mapping displays the existing relationships between organizations within the network and is being used to inform our understanding of how to improve our city's civil legal aid network so that it works for all residents. Click HERE to read Visible Network Labs' full report on the DC Legal Aid Transformations Network and this network mapping exercise. 

DC LATN Map.PNG
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