D.C. Affordable Law Firm Receives First Suzanne Richards Award

December 4, 2015 — The D.C. Affordable Law Firm has received the first Suzanne Richards Award from the Foundation of the Bar Association of the District of Columbia. The award includes a $10,000 grant. It was presented on December 5 at the BADC’s 144th annual banquet, "A Celebration of Women in the Law."

The grant will be given annually to D.C. nonprofits in honor of the late Suzanne Richards, who was the first female president of the Bar Association of the District of Columbia.

Keith W. Watters (L'79), president of the Foundation of the Bar Association of the District of Columbia, said he was delighted to present the first annual Suzanne Richards Award to DCALF. Richards practiced law in the District of Columbia her entire life and was deeply committed to equal opportunities for women and minority lawyers.  

DCALF is a low bono law firm with 501(c)3 status that will provide affordable, high quality legal services to D.C. residents who do not qualify for free legal aid and to small businesses and nonprofits in the District. Georgetown Law is providing 15-month fellowships and a cost-free LL.M. degree to the six fellows. Arent Fox is providing space for the firm and physical and technological support. DLA Piper is taking the lead in training the new lawyers and establishing the firm’s policies and procedures. The three organizations collectively will provide more than $1 million in financial and pro bono support annually over the next three years. 

Approximately 100,000 people in the District lack access to legal representation in civil matters, according to a report prepared by the D.C. Access to Justice Commission. 

“Our motto is, ‘Law is but the means, justice is the end,’” said Georgetown Law Dean William M. Treanor at DCALF’s launch in October. “But if there’s no lawyer — if you’re representing yourself in landlord-tenant or immigration proceedings — there’s also no justice.”