News & Politics

Washingtonian of the Year 2015: Jenny Brody

Photograph by Jeff Elkins

Though men accused of abuse are entitled to legal representation, victims don’t automatically have counsel, says Jenny Brody, a founder of the DC Volunteer Lawyers Project. Going to court often triggers painful memories; what’s more, victims often don’t know how to collect proof they need for a protection order. Brody says more than nine out of ten clients succeed in getting a protection order, compared with the 40 percent of all abuse victims in DC who seek one. DCVLP’s follow-up shows that 100 percent of those who had such orders experienced no further violence. Brody started DCVLP with Karen Barker Marcou and Marla Spindel in 2008. They now have 300 fellow lawyers who help 800 victims and children a year. The project staffs a domestic-violence resource clinic, and attorneys offer representation. “Using my degree to ensure the safety of a victim and her children is tremendously rewarding,” Brody says. Compensation is no problem: “We get paid in hugs.”

This article appears in our January 2016 issue of Washingtonian.