The DC Bar Foundation (DCBF) is committed to working strategically with the DC legal aid community to increase access to justice. We provide 360° support to our community by funding legal aid organizations, providing professional development opportunities to attorneys working at those organizations, and helping some of those same attorneys reduce their law school debt with our Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP).
This year, with your support and that of many others, we awarded over $400,000 through our LRAP to 76 civil legal aid lawyers, who work with legal aid organizations representing low-income, underserved residents of the District. Elizabeth Landau is one of those lawyers. Her work at Amara Legal Center is aided by the funding she receives from the LRAP program. “In addition to lifting a significant financial burden, it also serves as a source of encouragement. It is a reminder that the DC legal community cares about public interest law and values my position,” she said.
Elizabeth has worked with Amara for over a year, and, in that role, she handles a caseload that not only includes domestic violence cases but human-trafficking victim cases as well. The subject is not new to Elizabeth, who has worked on issues affecting human-trafficking victims internationally. An internship led to an opportunity in Prague, Czech Republic.
“I provided direct services while also assisting to build a network of [non-governmental organizations] internationally, compiling best practices on helping victims of trafficking and giving presentations and workshops on three continents. Following this, I spent time working with trafficking victims as a Transitional Housing Advocate at a domestic violence shelter in Kansas City, MO. Each of these experiences led me to believe that pursuing a law degree would better equip me to assist trafficking survivors.”
Today, Elizabeth uses her law degree to continue to work in service of others. It provides her with a sense of fulfillment, stating, “public interest law is my way of striving for social justice and finding fulfillment in life.” While Elizabeth was advised by many to pursue a for-profit institution, she chose her passion over profit. The availability of LRAP funds makes Elizabeth’s choice to stay within public interest easier. “I went to law school for a specific purpose, and trying to find a well-paying job outside of that purpose felt disingenuous to me. I was amazed that LRAP existed, and it reaffirmed my decision to pursue the career I wanted.”
To learn more about LRAP, please visit: https://dcbarfoundation.org/lrap/.