Code of the District of Columbia

Subchapter II. Access to Justice Initiative.


Part A. Establishment of Program.

§ 4–1702.01. Access to Justice Initiative.

(a) The Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants shall establish an Access to Justice Initiative program for the purpose of providing support to nonprofit organizations that deliver civil legal services to low-income and under-served District residents and providing loan-repayment assistance to lawyers working in eligible employment. The Initiative shall consist of the ATJ and LRAP programs.

(b) The provisions of this chapter shall be exempt from the requirements of part B of subchapter XII-A of Chapter 3 of Title 1 [§ 1-328.11 et seq.].


(Sept. 24, 2010, D.C. Law 18-223, § 201; as added Sept. 14, 2011, D.C. Law 19-21, § 3002(b), 58 DCR 6226; Feb. 26, 2015, D.C. Law 20-155, § 3032(a), 61 DCR 9990; Dec. 13, 2017, D.C. Law 22-33, § 3042(b), 64 DCR 7652.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 4-1701.01 and § 4-1704.01.

Effect of Amendments

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 20-155 added (b).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 3042(b) of Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-167, Oct. 24, 2017, 64 DCR 10802).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 3042(b) of Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-104, July 20, 2017, 64 DCR 7032).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 3032(a) of the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-377, July 14, 2014, 61 DCR 7598, 20 STAT 3696).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 3032(a) of the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-449, October 10, 2014, 61 DCR 10915, 20 STAT 4188).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 3032(a) of the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Support Second Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-566, January 9, 2015, 62 DCR 884, 21 STAT 541).


§ 4–1702.02. Financial audit and reporting requirements.

(a)(1) The Bar Foundation shall provide the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants with:

(A)(i) An annual financial audit of the ATJ program prepared by a certified public accountant licensed in the District of Columbia and carried out in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards. The audit may be conducted as part of the Bar Foundation’s annual audit.

(ii) The Bar Foundation may use a portion of funds allocated for reasonable administrative expenses pursuant to § 4-1703.01(b) to procure an audit of the ATJ program for the current or preceding fiscal year. The audit shall account for and reflect all interest associated with the grant funding. The audit may be conducted as part of the administrator’s annual audit.

(B) Twice-yearly programmatic reporting on the administration and performance of the ATJ program.

(2) The Bar Foundation shall not be required to provide access to information on subgrantee matters covered by attorney-client privilege or attorney work-product privilege or that includes confidences and secrets of clients assisted by civil legal-service providers that receive funds through the ATJ program.

(b)(1)(A) The Administrator for the LRAP shall provide to the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants (or if the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants is acting as Administrator, the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants shall obtain) an annual financial audit of the LRAP prepared by a certified public accountant licensed in the District of Columbia and carried out in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards.

(B) The Administrator may use a portion of funds allocated for reasonable administrative expenses pursuant to § 4-1704.01(c)(3) to procure an audit of the LRAP for the current or preceding fiscal year. The audit shall account for and reflect all interest associated with the grant funding.

(2) The Administrator shall provide semiannual programmatic reporting on the administration and performance of the LRAP.

(3) The Administrator shall not be required to provide (or if the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants is acting as Administrator, shall not release) information on subgrantee matters covered by attorney-client privilege or attorney work-product privilege or any information that includes confidences and secrets of clients assisted by lawyers participating in the LRAP.


(Sept. 24, 2010, D.C. Law 18-223, § 202; as added Sept. 14, 2011, D.C. Law 19-21, § 3002(b), 58 DCR 6226; Dec. 13, 2017, D.C. Law 22-33, § 3042(c), 64 DCR 7652.)

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 3042(c) of Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-167, Oct. 24, 2017, 64 DCR 10802).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 3042(c) of Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-104, July 20, 2017, 64 DCR 7032).


Part B. Funding for Program.

§ 4–1703.01. ATJ; funding and administration.

(a) The Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants shall award a grant each fiscal year from the budget of the Initiative to the Bar Foundation for the purpose of the Bar Foundation providing support to nonprofit organizations that deliver civil legal services to low-income and under-served District residents, including funds for a shared legal interpreter bank. Payment of the award shall be submitted by October 15th of each fiscal year in the amount specified in an act of the Council. The grant shall equal the budget for ATJ.

(b)(1) The Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants shall permit the Bar Foundation to use up to 10% of the grant awarded in each fiscal year for reasonable administrative expenses, including audits, associated with the provision of support to the nonprofit organizations.

(2) Any training or evaluation deemed necessary by the Bar Foundation for purposes of the Initiative shall be permitted as a non-administrative expense, with reasonable expenses for these purposes not restricted to the percentage set aside for administrative expenses under paragraph (1) of this subsection.


(Sept. 24, 2010, D.C. Law 18-223, § 301; as added Sept. 14, 2011, D.C. Law 19-21, § 3002(b), 58 DCR 6226; Feb. 26, 2015, D.C. Law 20-155, § 3032(b), 61 DCR 9990; Dec. 13, 2017, D.C. Law 22-33, § 3042(d), 64 DCR 7652.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 4-1702.02.

Effect of Amendments

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 20-155 added (b)(2).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 3042(d) of Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-167, Oct. 24, 2017, 64 DCR 10802).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 3042(d) of Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-104, July 20, 2017, 64 DCR 7032).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 3032(b) of the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-377, July 14, 2014, 61 DCR 7598, 20 STAT 3696).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 3032(b) of the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-449, October 10, 2014, 61 DCR 10915, 20 STAT 4188).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 3032(b) of the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Support Second Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-566, January 9, 2015, 62 DCR 884, 21 STAT 541).


Part C. Poverty Lawyer Loan Repayment Assistance Program.

§ 4–1704.01. LRAP.

(a) The District of Columbia Poverty Lawyer Loan Repayment Assistance Program shall provide loan repayment assistance to lawyers working in eligible employment. The LRAP shall be part of and be funded through the Initiative, established pursuant to § 4-1702.01.

(b)(1) Funding for the LRAP shall be allocated to the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants.

(2) The amount of funding for the LRAP for each fiscal year shall be specified by an act of the Council and shall not be modified except by a subsequent act of the Council.

(3) Any training or evaluation deemed necessary by the Bar Foundation for purposes of the Initiative shall be permitted as a non-administrative expense, with reasonable expenses for these purposes not restricted to the percentage set aside for administrative expenses under subsection (c) of this section.

(c)(1) The Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants may serve as Administrator or may designate a nonprofit entity to serve as the Administrator. If the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants designates a nonprofit entity as the Administrator, the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants shall provide funding for the LRAP by awarding a grant to the nonprofit entity. The grant shall be nonlapsing and interest earned by the nonprofit on grant funds shall remain available for use by the Administrator for the purposes of the LRAP, without fiscal year limitation, subject to authorization by Congress.

(2) For Fiscal Year 2018, the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants shall designate the Bar Foundation as the Administrator.

(3) Except as provided in paragraphs (3) and (4) of this subsection, the Administrator may use up to 15% of the grant funding for reasonable administrative expenses associated with administering the LRAP.

(4) If the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants has designated the Bar Foundation as Administrator, the Bar Foundation may, in lieu of using a percentage of LRAP grant funding under paragraph (3) of this subsection, use a portion of funds authorized under § 4-1703.01(b) for reasonable administrative expenses associated with administering the LRAP.


(Sept. 24, 2010, D.C. Law 18-223, § 401; as added Sept. 14, 2011, D.C. Law 19-21, § 3002(b), 58 DCR 6226; Feb. 26 , 2015, D.C. Law 20-155, § 3032(c), 61 DCR 9990; Dec. 13, 2017, D.C. Law 22-33, § 3042(e), 64 DCR 7652.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 4-1701.01 and § 4-1702.02.

Effect of Amendments

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 20-155 added (b)(3); added “Except as provided in paragraphs (3) and (4) of this subsection” in (c)(3); and added (c)(4).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 3042(e) of Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-167, Oct. 24, 2017, 64 DCR 10802).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 3042(e) of Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-104, July 20, 2017, 64 DCR 7032).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 3032(c) of the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-377, July 14, 2014, 61 DCR 7598, 20 STAT 3696).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 3032(c) of the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-449, October 10, 2014, 61 DCR 10915, 20 STAT 4188).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 3032(c) of the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Support Second Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-566, January 9, 2015, 62 DCR 884, 21 STAT 541).


§ 4–1704.02. LRAP; administration.

(a) The Administrator shall:

(1) Establish an application and eligibility review process for the LRAP;

(2) Conduct a semiannual review of the continued eligibility of participants;

(3) Certify a list of eligible employment; and

(4) Determine the levels of participant contribution.

(b) The Administrator shall provide loans to participants who maintain eligible employment to repay eligible debt for reasonable education expenses . The Administrator shall forgive these loans upon a participant’s completion of the required service obligation.


(Sept. 24, 2010, D.C. Law 18-223, § 402; as added Sept. 14, 2011, D.C. Law 19-21, § 3002(b), 58 DCR 6226; Dec. 13, 2017, D.C. Law 22-33, § 3042(f), 64 DCR 7652.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 4-1704.05.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 3042(f) of Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-167, Oct. 24, 2017, 64 DCR 10802).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 3042(f) of Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-104, July 20, 2017, 64 DCR 7032).


§ 4–1704.03. LRAP; participation eligibility.

(a) To be eligible to participate in the LRAP, an applicant shall, at the time of application and throughout participation in the LRAP:

(1) Hold, or actively plan to secure, eligible employment; provided, that a participant shall hold eligible employment before any payments may be disbursed;

(2) Be a resident of the District of Columbia;

(3) Be a lawyer;

(4) Have a current salary (including bonuses and other wages) of less than $90,000;

(5) Exhaust all other available avenues for loan repayment assistance, including through participation in any available undergraduate or law school debt-forgiveness programs;

(6) Have no current service obligation from scholarships;

(7) Submit a timely and completed application;

(8) Be in satisfactory repayment status on all eligible debt; and

(9) Execute a release to allow the Administrator access to records, credit information, and information from lenders necessary to verify eligibility of debt and to determine loan repayments.

(b) A law student attending the David A. Clarke School of Law at the University of the District of Columbia who is in his or her final year of school may apply and be approved for loan repayment assistance if the applicant demonstrates that he or she will meet all eligibility requirements by the time of the first award disbursement.


(Sept. 24, 2010, D.C. Law 18-223, § 403; as added Sept. 14, 2011, D.C. Law 19-21, § 3002(b), 58 DCR 6226; June 19, 2013, D.C. Law 19-320, § 504(b), 60 DCR 3390; May 10, 2019, D.C. Law 22-313, § 9(b), 66 DCR 1627.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 4-1704.05 and § 4-1704.06.

Effect of Amendments

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-320 substituted “$75,000, subject to a 3% annual increase beginning on October 1, 2013” for “$65,000” in (a)(4).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary amendment of (a)(4), see § 504(b) of the Omnibus Criminal Code Amendments Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-599, January 14, 2013, 60 DCR 1017).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 504(b) of the Omnibus Criminal Code Amendment Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-44, April 1, 2013, 60 DCR 5381, 20 DCSTAT 1281).


§ 4–1704.04. LRAP; award of loans.

(a) The Administrator shall award loans to participants during the period of service obligation in accordance with § 4-1704.06. Subject to the availability of funds and within the limits established by subsection (c) of this section, participants shall be granted loans sufficient to repay all eligible debt.

(b) If the needs of all participants exceed the financing available in any fiscal year, preference shall be given to participants who:

(1) Are graduates of accredited public schools of law in the District of Columbia;

(2) Have completed no less than 2 prior service obligations in the LRAP;

(3) Have graduated from an accredited school of law within the last 3 years; or

(4) Have a high debt to income ratio as compared to other participants.

(c) Participants in the LRAP shall not receive loan repayment assistance under the LRAP in excess of $1,000 for a single month; except, that the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants may by rulemaking increase the award limits in this subsection to reflect changes in reasonable education expenses.


(Sept. 24, 2010, D.C. Law 18-223, § 404; as added Sept. 14, 2011, D.C. Law 19-21, § 3002(b), 58 DCR 6226; Dec. 13, 2017, D.C. Law 22-33, § 3042(g), 64 DCR 7652; May 10, 2019, D.C. Law 22-313, § 9(c), 66 DCR 1627.)

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 3042(g) of Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-167, Oct. 24, 2017, 64 DCR 10802).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 3042(g) of Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-104, July 20, 2017, 64 DCR 7032).


§ 4–1704.05. LRAP; participant obligations.

(a) A participant shall:

(1) Maintain full-time employment and eligible employment for each year of the service obligation;

(2) Sign a promissory note setting forth his or her obligation to the LRAP to repay any assistance loans that are not subsequently forgiven pursuant to § 4-1704.02(b) because of a failure to sustain eligible employment or other noncompliance with the eligibility requirements set forth in § 4-1704.03.

(3) Authorize the Administrator to verify his or her eligible employment, current salary (including bonuses and other wages), and other sources of income, at least semiannually during participation in the LRAP;

(4) Timely notify the Administrator of any change in status that would make the participant ineligible for an award; and

(5) Be responsible for:

(A) Negotiating with each lending institution the terms and conditions of eligible debt repayments; and

(B) Any penalties associated with early repayment.

(b) Except as provided in subsections (c) and (d) of this section, participants who fail to fulfill the required service obligation shall repay any loan disbursed, in accordance with the terms of the promissory note required by subsection (a)(2) of this section and regulations promulgated pursuant to § 4-1704.07.

(c) For the purposes of this chapter, a participant who provides adequate notice to the Administrator of involuntary termination from eligible employment shall be forgiven for the loan through the date of the involuntary termination from eligible employment. The participant shall be required to repay the loan from the date of involuntary termination from eligible employment through the end of the calendar year.

(d) For the purposes of this chapter, a participant who becomes ineligible to participate in the LRAP shall be forgiven for the loan through the date of the ineligibility if the participant has satisfied the obligations under § 4-1704.03 and this section for 3 or more years. The participant shall be required to repay the loan from the date of voluntary withdrawal from eligible employment through the end of the calendar year.


(Sept. 24, 2010, D.C. Law 18-223, § 405; as added Sept. 14, 2011, D.C. Law 19-21, § 3002(b), 58 DCR 6226; Dec. 13, 2017, D.C. Law 22-33, § 3042(h), 64 DCR 7652; May 10, 2019, D.C. Law 22-313, § 9(d), 66 DCR 1627.)

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 3042(h) of Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-167, Oct. 24, 2017, 64 DCR 10802).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 3042(h) of Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-104, July 20, 2017, 64 DCR 7032).


§ 4–1704.06. LRAP; disbursement of loans.

(a) The Administrator shall begin to disburse loan repayment assistance within 90 days of the Administrator’s receipt of adequate funds.

(b) Subject to the availability of appropriations, loan repayment-assistance payments shall be made not less than semiannually to the participant until the repayment of the eligible debt is complete or the participant no longer meets the eligibility requirements set forth in § 4-1704.03.


(Sept. 24, 2010, D.C. Law 18-223, § 406; as added Sept. 14, 2011, D.C. Law 19-21, § 3002(b), 58 DCR 6226.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 4-1704.04.


§ 4–1704.07. LRAP; rulemaking.

The Mayor, pursuant to subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2 [§ 2-501 et seq.], shall issue rules to implement the provisions of this chapter.


(Sept. 24, 2010, D.C. Law 18-223, § 407; as added Sept. 14, 2011, D.C. Law 19-21, § 3002(b), 58 DCR 6226.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 4-1704.05.