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Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia

"Very reassuring..."

Legal Aid Society DC - Kathy Hays

The Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia has been “making justice real” in individual and systemic ways since 1932. Legal Aid assists low-income District residents in such areas as housing law, domestic violence and family law, public benefits law, consumer protection, and the nationally-recognized Barbara McDowell Appellate Advocacy Project that pursues an anti-poverty agenda and litigation before the D.C. Court of Appeals. Legal Aid offers extensive resources to help individuals in the nation’s capital to navigate the complex systems affecting housing, unemployment, social security, public benefits, domestic violence, tax, immigration, and other legal issues. Legal Aid’s work helps fight racial inequities, protect valuable safety nets, reunite families, protect consumers, support domestic violence survivors, and much more.

Director of Operations Kathy Hays had been thinking about engaging YPTC for some time, and had received a recommendation from a colleague at another nonprofit organization. She reached out to YPTC when Legal Aid had to implement new grant reporting requirements that were more complex than the existing infrastructure could handle.

“We were just really impressed at our introductory meeting,” she recalls. “They weren’t judgmental or telling us we were doing things wrong. Instead, they acknowledged we were doing things right but showed us how they could help us improve what we were doing.” Associate Larry Kaplan was assigned to work with Legal Aid, and Hays couldn’t be more pleased.

“He’s just amazing. He’s calm and listens to us. He’s very perceptive and knows when I’m worried about something. He asks good questions and provides good direction. He’s very knowledgeable and has been a great asset to us,” she says.

When Legal Aid needed a more involved system for recording time sheets, Kaplan helped set up financial processes. “He implemented a mechanism that allows us to digest the information we need out of the numbers we’re getting. It was really impressive.

“I have a high standard for myself about wanting things to be perfect and accurate and Larry won’t deliver anything less. He’s very reassuring. The fellow members on our leadership team also recognize that he’s an asset. We don’t think of him as a YPTC person – he’s just one of us, part of the team.  I’d really be lost without him at this point,” she says. “I told him he can never leave us!”


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