Jonathan Smith of Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs to Receive 2022 Scoutt Prize
[District of Columbia, May 27, 2022] – The District of Columbia Bar Foundation has selected Jonathan M. Smith as the 2022 Jerrold Scoutt Prize awardee. Mr. Smith is the Executive Director of 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 their career at a nonprofit organization providing devoted, skillful, and compassionate legal work on behalf of underserved residents of the District of Columbia.
In announcing the award, Kirra L. Jarratt, Chief Executive Officer of the DC Bar Foundation, said, "The Foundation's Scoutt Prize Selection Committee is honored to recognize Jonathan and his extraordinary work in supporting the District's residents in need of civil legal aid. At each step in his career of more than 30 years, Jonathan has been an active champion for those in need. Not only has he handled individual, class action, and impact litigation, he has been a zealous participant in legislative advocacy and institutional reform efforts. This exemplary commitment to his work is nothing short of inspiring."
Mr. Smith joined the Washington Lawyers’ Committee (WLC) as Executive Director in 2016, where he oversees litigation and advocacy programs addressing civil rights and anti-poverty issues related to housing, employment, education, disability, criminal justice, and immigrants and refugees. Upon joining WLC, Mr. Smith immediately entered a strategic planning process that refined the organization's vision to see all aspects of its work through a racial equity lens, which informs WLC's work to this day.
This demonstrated commitment to racial equity and racial justice has been a hallmark of Mr. Smith's entire legal career. Prior to joining WLC, Mr. Smith served as the Associate Dean of Experiential and Clinical programs at the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law. Before that, he served as Chief of the Special Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division of the US Department of Justice from 2010 to 2015. Under his leadership, the Special Litigation Section conducted the civil investigation of the Ferguson Missouri Police Department following the death of Michael Brown in 2014. Mr. Smith has also served as Executive Director at the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, the Public Justice Center in Baltimore, MD, and the DC Prisoners' Legal Services Project.
Mr. Smith began his career as an associate to Virginia civil rights lawyer Victor Glasbert. He has a BA from the University of Maine at Orono and a JD from the Antioch School of Law.
The Jerrold Scoutt Prize was endowed by the Washington, DC firm of Zuckert, Scoutt & Rasenberger and 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. In 2019, Zuckert, Scoutt & Rasenberger merged with Kaplan, Massamillo & Andrews and is now KMA Zuckert LLC. The DC Bar Foundation will present the 2022 Jerrold Scoutt Prize to Mr. Smith during its Fall Reception on October 27, 2022.
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 work to 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.