Who We Serve

Client Stories

Our success is driven by our clients’ courage and their personal commitment to equal justice for all.

Client Testimonials

Sonya Zollicoffer shares her experience working for the Prince George’s County Police Department (PGPD). Sonya was one of 10 officers of color that sued the Department after enduring a work environment rife with race discrimination and retaliation.

Maurice Alexander’s housing application was wrongly rejected due to a 7-year-old, non-violent, non-drug related misdemeanor. He shares his story about why he wants to make sure others will not suffer the same injustice.

For years, Domingo Zamora and his fellow workers were underpaid for long, hard hours of work. He shared the devastating impact of wage theft on himself and his family. In the end, his courage helped secure over $645,000 for 25 plaintiffs.

Our client Louis Sawyer recently talked about the parole process and returning citizens. The Committee’s DC Prisoners’ Project trains pro bono representatives to assist prisoners with their parole grant hearings, and advocates for the rights of returning citizens.

Jackie Cote shares her story of fighting for health insurance for her wife, Dee, and the rights of LGBTQ workers. Her class action lawsuit charged Walmart with discriminating against employees who were married to same-sex spouses by denying their spouses health insurance benefits. In May 2017, a federal judge approved a $7.5 million class settlement.

Case Study
Ending Discrimination at “America’s Diner”

In the early 1990s, the Washington Lawyers’ Committee exposed rampant discrimination against African American patrons at Denny’s restaurants. Black patrons were denied seating, required to pay first, or made to sit in the back of the restaurant.

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WLC helped L.J., an individual from DC who was incarcerated in the BOP for 23 years, find representation and secure release at his fourth parole hearing.

DC Jail Litigation

In April 2023, WLC and our partners filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of incarcerated residents with serious medical needs at the DC Department of Corrections, challenging DOC’s dysfunctional and unconstitutional healthcare system.

Cruel and Usual: An Investigation Into Prison Abuse at USP Thomson

In 2022 and 2023, WLC and its partners conducted an 18-month investigation into the Special Management Unit (SMU) at USP Thomson and detailed more than 120 accounts of “extreme physical and psychological abuse” endured by residents. The BOP closed the SMU at Thomson on February 14, 2023.

Emergency Relief for Patients at DC’s Psychiatric Hospital

The Washington Lawyers’ Committee, on behalf of three patients, successfully sought emergency relief to ensure that the District conformed its practices to best available guidance, significantly improving patient care and lowering infection and death rates dramatically.

Fair Access to the Ballot

In 2020, the Washington Lawyers’ Committee filed suit on behalf of a coalition of disability organizations and individual voters against the Commonwealth of Virginia for excluding Virginians with disabilities from absentee voting.

Fighting Hostile School Environments

For decades, students in Hanover County, VA were forced to attend middle and high schools that glorified the names and values of the Confederacy. Black students in particular endured a hostile school environment that derived directly from the naming of the schools after Confederate generals and their defense of slavery. The Washington Lawyers’ Committee represented the Hanover County NAACP in litigation to change the school names…

Education for Incarcerated Students

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, D.C. Public Schools stopped providing education to students at the DC Jail, and instead students received inaccessible, inadequate, and inconsistently delivered work packets that they had to complete without instruction or assistance.

Removing Barriers to Open the Legal Profession to All

The largest bar exam preparation company in the nation, BarBri, Inc., failed to provide equal access to key parts of its bar preparation courses to blind students.

Uniting Parents, Uniting Concerns & Uniting a Movement at Columbia Heights Education Campus

Columbia Heights is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the District. It is also one of the most rapidly changing. An African American neighborhood for most of the last half of the last century that welcomed Latinx immigrants escaping the Wars in Central American in the 1980’s and 1990’s, has rapidly gentrified.

Winning the Right to Communication for Deaf Prisoners

In a recent landmark decision, the Fourth Circuit held that the failure to provide a videophone to a prisoner who is deaf so that he can communicate with people outside of prison may violate his First Amendment rights.

Ending Discrimination at “America’s Diner”

In the early 1990s, the Washington Lawyers’ Committee exposed rampant discrimination against African American patrons at Denny’s restaurants. Black patrons were denied seating, required to pay first, or made to sit in the back of the restaurant.

Ending a Crisis for Mentally Ill Prisoners

The Administrative Maximum (ADX) Facility in Florence, Colorado is the highest security prison in the federal prison system. This supermax prison engages in extreme forms of isolation.

Landmark Case: Holding Metro Accountable

With the help of Washington Lawyers’ Committee, a group of African American applicants and employees received a groundbreaking $6.5 million settlement from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) — and a chance to work.

A Victory for Workers’ Rights

Domingo Zamora and his fellow construction workers were working shifts as long as 48 hours straight, moving from one project to another — and never receiving overtime. We sued and secured substantial back pay.

Housing Barriers

In 2021, Park 7 Tenant Union sued their property management company for obstructing the tenants’ efforts to organize and protest the deteriorating housing conditions in their apartment building. With representation from the Washington Lawyers’ Committee and Cohen Millstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, the tenant union won.

Language Access is a Civil Right

The DC Department of Human Services (DHS) repeatedly failed to provide language access services to DC residents, violating the civil rights of individual residents and harming the overall health of the community.