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Jerrold Scoutt Prize Celebrates 30 Years

2022 Recipient Jonathan Smith of Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs with DC Bar Foundation Chief Executive Officer Kirra L. Jarratt.

The DC Bar Foundation awards the Jerrold Scoutt Prize annually to an attorney who has spent a significant portion of their career at a nonprofit organization, providing devoted, skillful, and compassionate legal work for underserved residents in the District of Columbia.

This year, DCBF celebrates the 30th anniversary of the award, which was created in 1992 by the firm Zuckert, Scoutt, and Rasenberger (now called KMA Zuckert) as a means of honoring its founding partner Jerrold Scoutt and his lifelong dedication to public service. DCBF awarded the first Scoutt Prize in 1993 to Paula Scott, who, at the time, worked at Neighborhood Legal Services Program.

Jerrold Scoutt believed that every lawyer has a duty to their community that extends beyond their work. He encouraged other lawyers to participate in community service activities and pro bono work. It has been an honor to administer and award the Scoutt Prize to attorneys with these values. As such, here are some key reasons why DCBF is proud to recognize a new recipient every year:

1. It shows a commitment to justice in civil legal aid. The Scoutt Prize celebrates lawyers who have devoted their careers to ensuring DC residents with limited resources have access to legal services and support. Recipients have represented individuals from marginalized communities, including those with physical and mental disabilities, people experiencing homelessness, and DC residents who need assistance with landlord-tenant issues.

2. It prioritizes the legal work done on behalf of traditionally underserved communities. Award recipients have worked tirelessly to address the legal needs and protect the rights of individuals who may not otherwise have had the means to obtain legal representation.

3. It recognizes the attorneys who use innovative approaches in their work. Scoutt Prize recipients are some of the top leaders in developing innovative and creative strategies for bridging the justice gap. They emphasize the importance of finding new solutions and adopting methods that improve access to civil legal aid for DC residents.

4. It inspires influence and innovation among other lawyers. There is no better way to inspire others than by recognizing those who have done—and continue to do—the work. Civil legal aid can often feel heavy and daunting, but DCBF hopes this prize inspires attorneys to keep going because this work matters.

The prize means a great deal to the recipients as well. Rebecca Lindhurst, the 2021 honoree, said, “As a young attorney in DC, I always looked up to Scoutt recipients as role models in this work. After 20 years of work in this community, receiving the prize was truly an honor. It is an amazing privilege to be counted among the greats of the DC legal services community.

On November 8, DCBF will award the 2023 Scoutt Prize to Tracy Goodman, a director at the Children’s Law Center, where she leads their Healthy Together medical-legal partnership. Tracy embodies all the attributes I outlined above and so many more. Upon her selection, Seth Rosenthal, Chair of the Scoutt Prize Selection Committee, said, “For nearly three decades, Tracy has been a champion for those in need, providing direct representation to hundreds of District children and mentoring young attorneys eager to make a similar impact.” Tracy is a beacon in the civil legal aid community, and her unwavering dedication and support significantly impacted the Children’s Law Center and her clients.

Over the past 30 years, DCBF has proudly awarded the Scoutt Prize to some of the most brilliant civil legal attorneys in the District of Columbia. Awardees receive a beautiful plaque and a check for $2,500. We are currently looking for additional Scoutt Prize donors so we can increase the size of the award and permanently endow the prize.

Thank you to the Scoutt Selection Committee, who help administer the award every year, as well as past recipients and everyone who has taken the time to submit a nomination for the Scoutt Prize. Awarding this prize at our Fall Reception is always one of the year’s highlights, and I look forward to celebrating the 30th anniversary on November 8.

The 2024 Scoutt Prize application process will open early next year, but you can learn more about the nomination criteria and see the list of past recipients.


Kirra L. Jarratt, CEO


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