Our Mission

From its inception in 1968, the mission of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs has been to mobilize the resources of the private bar to address issues of civil rights violations and poverty in our community.

Over the past 45 years, the Committee’s efforts and programs have expanded from a small staff focused primarily on issues of racial discrimination into a far larger organization providing pro bono representation in a broad range of civil rights and related poverty issues impacting every group protected by our federal, state and local civil rights laws.

The Committee’s active litigation docket of more than 100 matters includes individual cases and class actions, as well as other larger law reform cases. It also includes a significant focus on public policy advocacy.

Today, the Committee operates specific projects focused on:

  • Employment rights
  • Fair housing and lending
  • Public accommodations
  • Immigrant & refugee rights
  • Disability rights
  • DC prisoners’ rights
  • Public education

In addition to these project areas, the Committee plays a leadership role in other key urban community initiatives:

  • General: Pursuing cases involving civil rights violations outside our core areas, including police misconduct and racial profiling.
  • DC Public School Partnership Program: Facilitating partnerships between law firms and individual DC public schools.
  • Introduction to Legal Reasoning: Sponsoring intensive 6-week course for minority students preparing to enter DC-area law schools.
  • Haitian Relief and Recovery Project: Providing legal research and support to nonprofits working on relief and recovery efforts in Haiti.

The Washington Lawyers’ Committee executes its mission by leveraging its own broad expertise with the resources of DC’s private bar to effect positive change in the community.

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