Washington, DC – The District of Columbia Bar Foundation (DCBF) has selected Rochanda Hiligh-Thomas as the recipient of the 2017 Jerrold Scoutt Prize. Ms. Hiligh-Thomas is the Interim Executive Director at Advocates for Justice and Education (AJE).
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.
During her tenure as Legal Services Director at AJE, Ms. Hiligh-Thomas worked to bring justice and education to low-income clients. In his nomination, Timothy Riveria, a former staff attorney with AJE, said of Rochanda: “Since the start of her career, Rochanda’s service to DC has led to the preservation of educational opportunities for thousands of children.” Mr. Riveria also referred to Ms. Hiligh-Thomas as “a pillar of the public interest community and a pioneer in education law in DC.”
Ms. Hiligh-Thomas has worked in DC’s legal aid community for over 20 years. Prior to her 12 years with AJE, Ms. Hiligh-Thomas worked with Neighborhood Legal Services Program for eight years, serving as Assistant Director of Legal Operations from 2002 to 2004. She is a graduate of Tuskegee University and the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law.
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 2017 Jerrold Scoutt Prize during the DC Bar’s Judicial Reception on Friday, April 7, 2017.
The DC Bar Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization established in 1977, is the largest funder of civil legal services in the District. The Foundation’s mission is to fund, support, and improve legal representation of the poor, vulnerable, and otherwise disadvantaged in the District of Columbia, and it is committed to the vision that residents of the District have equal access to justice, regardless of income. The Foundation provides grants, training, and technical assistance to local non-profit legal services organizations and awards loans to DC poverty lawyers to help with their educational debts.