Washington, DC – The District of Columbia Bar Foundation (DCBF) has selected Philip Fornaci as the recipient of the 2018 Jerrold Scoutt Prize. Mr. Fornaci is the Project Director of the DC Prisoners’ Project with the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.
The Scoutt Prize is awarded annually to an attorney who has worked for a significant portion of his or her career at a nonprofit organization providing direct, hands-on legal services to poor or disadvantaged persons in the District of Columbia, has demonstrated compassionate concern for his or her clients, and has exhibited a high degree of skill on their behalf.
As the Project Director for the DC Prisoners’ Project, Mr. Fornaci works to protect the rights of the more than 1,200 prisoners that the Project serves each year. In his nomination, Jonathan M. Smith, Executive Director of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee, said: “Philip has dedicated his career working for equal justice, against discrimination, and to ensure that every human being is treated with respect and dignity.” Mr. Smith also referred to Mr. Fornaci as “an exceptional, highly skilled, and compassionate attorney.”
Mr. Fornaci has played an instrumental role in DC’s legal aid community for over 25 years, beginning his career working on behalf of HIV/AIDS patients at Whitman-Walker Health Legal Clinic for seven years. In 2003, he served as Executive Director of the DC Prisoners’ Legal Services Project for three years and continued as director of the project for seven years, once it merged with Washington Lawyers’ Committee. In 2016, he served as Executive Director of the DC Employment Justice Center and re-joined Washington Lawyers’ Committee in 2017 as Project Director for the DC Prisoners’ Project. Mr. Fornaci is a graduate of Columbia University and The George Washington University Law School.
The Scoutt Prize, endowed by the Washington, DC firm of Zuckert, Scoutt, & Rasenberger LLP, is named in honor of Jerrold Scoutt, Jr., a founding partner of the firm, in recognition of Mr. Scoutt’s and the firm’s long-term support of legal services. The DC Bar Foundation’s Scoutt Prize Committee is chaired by DCBF Advisory Committee member Seth A. Rosenthal of Venable LLP. The DC Bar Foundation will present the 2018 Jerrold Scoutt Prize during the DC Bar’s Judicial Reception on Thursday, April 19, 2018.
About the DC Bar Foundation: For DC residents in poverty, we make strategic investments to strengthen and expand our civil legal aid network, addressing critical needs and improving our community. As the largest funder of civil legal aid in the District, we are a steadfast community partner, committed to protecting access to justice in life’s most pivotal moments.