On March 25, 2021, the D.C. Access to Justice Commission COVID-19 Task Force formally announced the launch of D.C. Represents. The campaign, which officially began in October 2020, is an initiative that calls on the local D.C. legal community to expand its pro bono efforts to address COVID-19 related legal needs within the city. Law firms, corporate and government legal departments (including the Government of the District of Columbia), individual lawyers, and law schools all work together in support of the campaign and the residents of D.C.
As a member of the task force, Kiva Zytnick, Catholic Law's Associate Director of the Pro Bono Program and Public Interest Law, works to reinforce the goals of the campaign and leverages the Law School’s Catholic mission of service to connect students to the work of the organization. She shared, "Last year I joined a D.C. Access to Justice Commission COVID-19 task force, along with representatives from D.C. law firms, legal service providers, and government agencies. Our mission has been to identify legal needs that are emerging from the pandemic and develop a plan to meet those needs through legal services and pro bono mobilization. Even before Covid, one in six D.C. residents lived in poverty, and 75% to 97% of D.C. residents who appeared in Superior Court did not have a lawyer. Now, more than a year into this pandemic, these crises of poverty and access to justice are even worse. The task force's D.C. Represents initiative challenges our local legal community—including our law students and law schools—to expand its commitment to helping District residents manage civil legal problems made much harder due to COVID. I'm proud to have CUA Law's Pro Bono Program participate and thankful for all of our students who have stepped up to do pro bono this year."
To learn more about the launch of D.C. Represents, click here.