Dionne Dillard, Loishirl Hall and Forrest Yang Lindelof will begin fellowships at DC Affordable Law Firm (DCALF) next month, where they will provide affordable and accessible legal services to modest- and lower-income D.C. residents. As part of the fellowship, all three 2022 graduates will receive a no-cost LL.M. in Advocacy from Georgetown University Law Center while working with DCALF.
DCALF is an access to justice organization founded with the belief that everyone deserves justice, regardless of income. The organization ensures hardworking D.C. residents who fall into the “forgotten middle” and others for whom legal representation would be out of reach have access to high-quality, affordable and accessible legal services. DCALF provides an array of family law, immigration, probate and estate planning legal services. All DCALF lawyers are recent graduates of UDC Law and Georgetown Law. “DCALF’s vision is twofold,” said Executive Director Gabrielle Mulnick Majewski, “to eliminate inequities in D.C.’s civil justice system while launching the careers of the next generation of public interest attorneys committed to closing the access to justice gap.”
Majewski said the addition of UDC Law graduates since 2020 has allowed DCALF to increase the size of its legal team by 44%, which in turn has increased the organization’s service footprint. In 2021, DCALF served 419 modest- and lower-income clients, more than double the number prior to the partnership. “Through our partnership, our clients have reaped the benefits of working alongside passionate, well-trained, committed social justice warriors from UDC Law,” Majewski said.
As a requirement, UDC Law students participate in our nationally ranked Clinical Program in which they work with real clients under the supervision of licensed attorneys. This experience equips them with the foundational skills needed to serve DCALF clients. Majewski expects the trend of providing more clients with high-quality legal services to continue with the addition of Dillard, Hall and Lindelof. “The fellows who come to us from UDC Law bring considerable depth to the tapestry of our fellowship program and use their talents to enhance the services we offer D.C. residents,” she said, adding, “I look forward to having this new class bring their individual skills, energies and rich clinical experiences to augment our work on behalf of current and future DCALF clients.”
Since its inception in 2020 and including the incoming cohort, nine UDC Law students have participated in the DCALF fellowship. In 2021-2022, Tonée Earle, Stephanie Kamey and Leslie Mullins were DCALF Fellows. The inaugural UDC Law class included Jamila Hubbard, Era Kryeziu and Allison Rice in 2020-2021.
Participants are selected through a rigorous application and interview process that considers a wide range of factors, including a demonstrated commitment to providing top-notch legal service to D.C. residents. Graduates are selected to serve as Associates at DCALF for 15-month terms, earning a free LL.M. from Georgetown Law for their successful completion of the fellowship term. For the first ten weeks of the program, fellows undergo intensive training before taking on cases under the supervision of DCALF attorneys.
Majewski reflected on working with UDC Law students over the last two years. “Our partnership with UDC Law has been a transformative part of DC Affordable Law Firm’s history and a highlight of the past two years. Through this partnership, we have expanded the diversity of our staff, but – even more importantly – created an avenue for a diverse group of lawyers to solidify their commitment to public interest practice, earn an advanced degree and gain experiences that will set their careers on a great trajectory for future success in the profession. With the additional lawyers who have joined our staff through this partnership, we have been able to increase our footprint in serving a historically underserved segment of our population and expand access to justice for even more D.C. residents. Our UDC Law fellows make a meaningful difference as lawyers committed to positively affecting the lives of D.C. residents, and we are a better program thanks to this partnership.”
Meet UDC Law’s DCALF Fellows
Dionne Dillard’s (she/her/hers) personal and professional experiences have prepared her to be an advocate for those who may not have the resources to advocate for themselves. Prior to law school, she worked diligently to provide resources and advocacy services to disenfranchised members of society for over fifteen years, including taking on an advocacy role for her own family members. During law school, Dionne completed 800 clinical hours and worked for legal service providers.
She is originally from Detroit, Michigan, and attended the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and African/African American Studies.
Loishirl Hall (she/her/hers) looks forward to joining DCALF where she will serve clients in family, immigration and probate matters. She was born in Monrovia, Liberia, and came to the U.S. with her family as child, growing up mostly in Lagrange, Georgia.
While in law school, Hall worked over 1,000 hours in the Immigration and Human Rights Clinic, the General Practice Family Defense Clinic and the Whistleblower Protection Clinic serving clients from traditionally underserved D.C. communities. She also interned at several organizations throughout law school providing legal resources to low-income clients in the D.C. Metro area including the Law Offices of Paul Strauss and Associates, the Office of the Public Defender for Prince George’s County and Advocates for Justice and Education, Inc. Hall proudly served as the President for the Black Law Students Association.
She earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and Psychology from Lagrange College and a Master of Arts in Law with a concentration in Human Rights from Regent University. She won the Award of Excellence, Outstanding Graduate of the Year for her academic performance, campus engagement and volunteer work in the community.
Forrest Yang Lindelof
Forrest Yang Lindelof (he/him/his) had an extensive list of helper careers before attending law school, including working as a behavior specialist with children in the Pittsburgh area. He came to law school to further the principles he developed during his time as a therapist, which he was able to do while working with the Immigration and Human Rights Clinic and the General Practice Clinic.
While at UDC Law, Lindelof was active in the Black Law Students Association, Out-Law and the UDC Law Mock Trial Team.
Lindelof grew up in Gaithersburg, MD, and received his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.