Friendship Baptist Church of DC Opens Legal Aid Site
April 29, 2013
On April 16,
2013, the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia opened the doors to its
newest intake site, located at Friendship Baptist Church in Southwest DC (900
Delaware Avenue, SW). Going forward, LAS at FBC will maintain walk-in
intake hours from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Reverend J. Michael Little,
The new church-based clinic is the first of its kind, and was born from a vision of Reverend J. Michael Little, Friendship Baptist's Senior Pastor. In 2008, Reverend Little, himself a Georgetown Law graduate, approached Kirkland & Ellis with the idea of bringing free legal services to the Southwest DC, where none then existed. His idea was that a “circle of friends” might be formed between the church and the private legal community. Reverend Little, along with Kirkland & Ellis, led by partners Tom Gottschalk and Jennifer Levy, founded a non-profit organization called “Jeremiah’s Circle of Friends,” (JCF) and under Reverend Little's leadership as Executive Director, began operating a home-grown legal clinic out of the church. For three years, the clinic was funded by the Kirkland Foundation, and Kirkland attorneys and legal assistants volunteered tens of thousands of hours assisting hundreds of underserved individuals through the clinic. “The JCF clinic was a resounding success,” said Jennifer Levy, Kirkland partner and JCF co-founder. “We became so convinced of the need in this community, that in late 2012 we approached Legal Aid with the idea of bringing their 80 years of knowledge and experience together with our grassroots project, and this terrific project was born.”
The opening of this new intake location was made possible as a result of an extraordinary, multi-year donation that the project received from the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. The firm has committed $125,000 per year for a minimum of five years, which will allow Legal Aid to expand its presence into Southwest, reaching low-income residents who may not otherwise have access to legal services. In addition to providing financial support to Legal Aid, Kirkland attorneys and legal assistants will staff the site under Legal Aid’s management, and provide advice and representation to clients needing legal assistance.
Friendship Baptist Church has stood as a beacon of hope in Southwest DC since its founding in 1875. The church is made up of a diverse and progressive congregation of about 700 members. “Looking forward, I remain committed to my belief that there are two things no one should ever be deprived of: equal opportunities for self-fulfillment, and access to justice.” Reverend Little affirms. “Friendship has always sought to give voice to the needy, and lend a hand of support in the struggle for justice. I’m grateful to God for Kirkland’s and Legal Aid’s huge commitment to this dream.”
Legal Aid DC at Friendship Baptist Church
Delaware Avenue, SW
Phone: (202) 554-4036
For Questions About the Program, Contact:
Reverend J. Michael Little
Phone: (202) 488-7417
Friendship Baptist Church website: www.friendshipbaptistdc.org
Pictured L-R: Rev. J. Michael Little, Senior Pastor, FBC, Founder/Director of
Community Relations, LAS at FBC; Jennifer Levy, Litigation Partner,
Kirkland & Ellis; Eric Angel, Exec. Dir. Legal Aid, DC.