BakerHostetler Pro Bono Team Honored for Work that Resulted in Revised Criminal Background Screening Policy for Tenants

News / April 15, 2021

BakerHostetler is the recipient of an Outstanding Achievement Award to be given by the Washington Lawyers’ Committee in recognition of pro bono work done by a BakerHostetler team to reach a settlement in 2020 with a large apartment rental management agency in Virginia.

Due to decades of mass incarceration and over-policing of Black and Latinx communities, Black and Latinx individuals are more likely to have a criminal background compared to white individuals. As a result, the plaintiffs, a family and Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia, Inc. (HOME), alleged in the complaint that the rental agency’s previous screening policy, which excluded applicants on the basis of a criminal background, disproportionately excluded Black and Latinx applicants. The rental agency agreed to implement a new criminal background screening policy, affording housing access to potential applicants with criminal backgrounds. (More information on the case and its outcome.)

BakerHostetler represented the family and HOME and was joined by The Washington Lawyers’ Committee and The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. The BakerHostetler pro bono team included Partner Beth McCallum and Associates Lindsay Holmes and Cassandra Simmons.

BakerHostetler will receive its award at the Washington Lawyers’ Committee’s Wiley A. Branton Awards Luncheon. The Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs works to create legal, economic and social equity through litigation, client and public education and public policy advocacy. Each year, Washington, D.C., area lawyers and law firms contribute thousands of hours of their time on cases and projects. During the luncheon, the Committee recognizes the law firms and advocacy organizational partnerships that have achieved an important result for its clients through Outstanding Achievement Awards.

More information on the awards.