[District of Columbia, November 17, 2022] – The DC Bar Foundation (DCBF) and NPC Research announce the release of the Family Law Learning Network Summary Report. The report recaps the learnings from the past 2.5 years of the Network's activity.
The Foundation launched the Family Law Learning Network (FLLN) in April 2020. The FLLN included staff from six DCBF grantees – Amara Legal Center, Bread for the City, DC Affordable Law Firm, DC Volunteer Lawyers Project, Legal Aid Society of DC, and The Safe Sisters Circle. NPC Research provided coordination.
Learning networks are groups of connected professionals across multiple organizations or sectors who share information, ideas, best practices, and lessons learned. Members benefit from one another's knowledge and experience and take what they learn through the Network back to their home organizations to increase their internal capacity and amplify their impact.
The FLLN operated with three overarching goals:
to build grantees' capacity to use data for monitoring their program's activities,
to connect legal services professionals to support knowledge sharing and collaboration, and
to help grantees apply data-related principles to real-world contexts that impact their legal practice.
The report highlights how each of those goals was achieved and highlights four learnings from the experience:
Relationships are key to the success of networks that seek to impact systems-level change.
Network coordination must provide sufficient, but not excessive, structure.
Integrating evaluation into legal services environments will require both training and resources.
Legal services providers in the District have an appetite for collaboration.
One FLLN participant said the experience "Helped me network with other nonprofit leaders and understand the legal aid framework of DC as a whole." Another noted that "FLLN provided a space for me to understand new ways that data can be used internally and externally for the organization or broader client base."
In September 2022, the FLLN ended its formal monthly meetings, and Network partners were invited to continue their work as part of the DC Legal Aid Transformations Network's Family and Probate Group.
Click this link to read the full FLLN report. Visit our website to learn more about the DC Legal Aid Transformations Network and to register for the Network's next quarterly convening on December 14.
About the DC Bar Foundation: We are committed to transforming DC's legal aid network so that all District residents have a fair and equal legal experience. Through our network approach, we actively bring together all invested stakeholders to identify and address the unmet civil legal needs of underserved DC residents, create solutions with a critical eye for racial justice and equity, and demonstrate meaningful impact.