About Us

CLADC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, non-partisan, Christian legal services organization incorporated in 2007.

Money should not be the “price” of justice, but in a less-than-perfect world, it often is.

Washington, DC, has one of the highest poverty and unemployment rates in the nation, which means that many residents cannot afford typical attorney fees of $300-600 per hour to settle their legal matters.[1] They struggle to move past old criminal records, negotiate with negligent landlords, file for Social Security benefits, and manage inheritances.

Many cases have poor outcomes. Injustice persists — all for want of an expensive attorney.

Christian Legal Aid of DC steps in to resolve this inequity.

We provide free legal advice and services to low-income residents in the District by organizing legal clinics and connecting them to attorneys so they don’t have to navigate the legal system alone.

In 2023 alone, we provided legal aid to more than 650 people at no cost to them. Learn more about how the work of CLADC helps to fill the Justice Gap.

With our free legal services, our clients get access to the justice that would otherwise be denied them because they can’t afford an attorney.

CLADC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, non-partisan, Christian legal services organization incorporated in 2007.

Money should not be the “price” of justice, but in a less-than-perfect world, it often is.

Washington, DC, has one of the highest poverty and unemployment rates in the nation, which means that many residents cannot afford typical attorney fees of $300-600 per hour to settle their legal matters.[1] They struggle to move past old criminal records, negotiate with negligent landlords, file for Social Security benefits, and manage inheritances.

Many cases have poor outcomes. Injustice persists — all for want of an expensive attorney.

Christian Legal Aid of DC steps in to resolve this inequity.

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Putting our Christian faith in action

Here are some of the ways we work out our faith at CLADC.

“Learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.” — Isaiah 1:17

We are present.

Everyone who calls CLADC asking for legal help is treated with the respect all people are due as God’s image bearers. We listen to their stories and connect clients to our legal aid or another legal service when the situation is outside of our expertise.

We pray.

The staff and volunteers pray for every client’s situation during times of private and team prayer. Sometimes clients want to pray with us during their consultations. We are glad to do so and consistently offer to pray together.

We provide personal relationships.

Our clinics and follow-up consultations are opportunities for our clients to be heard and receive guidance. Rather than feel limited by their poverty, they receive empathy and practical help.

We partner with fellow Christians.

Though CLADC does not exclusively aid Christians, many of our clients are rich in faith as brothers and sisters in Christ. As we mutually encourage and pray for one another, we “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).

Who We Are

Staff

Whitney King

Executive Director

About
Prior to becoming CLADC’s Executive Director, Whitney was an international development professional working in the areas of program monitoring, evaluation, research, and learning. She grew up in Georgia and received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Georgia. Later she obtained a Master of Public Policy degree from The George Washington University and has lived and worked in Washington, D.C. since 2010. Whitney is an active member of Restoration Church, and is passionate about seeing God transform the city through ministries like CLADC. She also enjoys spending time outside, hosting events, reading, and traveling.

Julia Williams

Program Coordinator

About
Julia Williams moved to the DC Metro Area with her husband in 2019. She grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, and received a B.A. in Political Science from Emory University in 2008. In 2013, she graduated with a law degree from the University of Georgia School of Law. Previously she worked for the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation as the program coordinator for the Safe and Stable Families Project and as an instructional assistant in the North Carolina Public Schools.

Although Julia does not currently practice law, she is passionate about helping people access legal services and is excited to be working to advance CLADC’s mission. In her free time, Julia enjoys reading, exploring DC, and traveling. She and her husband attend Fourth Presbyterian Church in Bethesda.

Sheily Virella

Pro Bono Manager

About
A native Puerto Rican, Sheily has traveled and lived in several countries. Before joining CLADC she worked as Federal Criminal Defense Legal Assistant for a small law firm in Puerto Rico and as an accountant at Public Housing Project, and spent several years volunteering with Christian Legal Clinics of Philadelphia. Sheily obtained her BA from the University of Puerto Rico, her Juris Doctorate from the Inter American University of Puerto Rico, and an LL.M. from Temple University in Japan. She has also studied abroad in Europe and China.

She is passionate about serving others and creating opportunities for access to legal services. She has volunteered with DC Central Kitchen, Atlas Performing Arts Center, among other international and legal organizations. As a Christian, she is honored to work in advancing CLADC’s mission.

David Pasti

Staff Attorney

About
David (Dave) Pasti has been practicing law since 1989, with a focus on Estate Planning and Probate, Criminal and Traffic defense, and personal injury. He is licensed in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Dave is committed to his faith, family, and clients, and has been involved with pro bono service for years with Good Samaritan Advocates in Maryland (since 2013) and CLADC (since 2020). He has been happily married to his wife Marie for 30 years, and they are proud parents of three adult sons.

Dave joins CLADC in this part-time role as he still manages his own practice. Dave is very excited to use the skills God has given him for such a noble cause.

Matthew Degioia

Staff Attorney

About

Matthew DeGioia is a licensed attorney admitted to practice in the Virginia State Bar, Maryland State Bar, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, and the D.C. Bar. He primarily specializes in disability benefits law and estate planning matters. With over a decade of experience, he has successfully represented clients before the Social Security Administration as both a non-attorney representative and as a lawyer, achieving victories in hundreds of disability benefits cases. His primary focus is on helping workers who are facing challenges, and he is committed to providing client-centered legal services.

Mr. DeGioia has been actively involved with CLADC since 2020, when he initially served as a Social Security Benefits Advisor. He is currently serving as a part-time Staff Attorney while managing his own private practice.

Originally hailing from Queens, New York, Mr. DeGioia has lived in the DC area for over a decade and currently resides in Northern Virginia with his wife, Gemma. He is also a graduate student at Reformed Theological Seminary and is pursuing ordination with the Potomac Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America. He and his wife are active members at Emmanuel Presbyterian Church in Arlington, Virginia.

Mr. DeGioia’s approach to advocacy is marked by efficiency and resource maximization, ensuring that his clients receive the attention and support they need. He believes in making sure clients are both seen and heard, with their concerns addressed comprehensively.

Advisors

Jeremy McClain

Ministry Advisor

About
Jeremy was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, and graduated from Howard University in 2007. In 2009, while working as an engineer, he began to search for ways to serve under-resourced and at-risk communities and joined the staff of Daybreak Ministries. He left engineering to work full-time with Daybreak and after seven years with Daybreak Ministries, the Lord called Jeremy to plant Mercy of Christ Fellowship Church to serve the Lincoln Heights and Deanwood areas of Washington, D.C.

Jeremy is married to his wonderful wife, Tiffany, and the Lord has blessed them with four wonderful children.

Kathlyn Scott

Probate Advisor

About
Kathlyn is in private practice in Washington, DC and represents clients in probate matters, domestic and international transactions, contract development, drafting, and negotiations, insurance matters, and various civil litigation matters. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Howard University, her Juris Doctorate from the Howard University School of Law, and studied abroad in Paris, France.

Before private practice, Kathlyn worked as in-house counsel for Fortune 100 corporations and what is currently known as the United States International Development Finance Corporation.

Robert Rose

Expungement Advisor

About
Rob is originally from northern New Jersey, where he grew up and attended Ramapo College of New Jersey. From college, he went to Regent Law School in Virginia Beach. After graduating from Regent in 2010, Rob practiced primarily general civil litigation and personal injury law in the Hampton Roads area before joining CLADC in 2015.

From 2013-17, he served on the board of directors for Jim White Community Fitness Foundation, a nonprofit that provides fitness and nutrition services to homeless and other underprivileged people in Hampton Roads. He is a member of Christ Our Shepherd Church in SE DC. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, playing basketball, and going for long runs.

Board of Directors

Karen Wu

Board Chair

About
Karen I. Wu is a partner at Perlman & Perlman, LLP, a law firm serving the philanthropic and social enterprise sector. Karen advises nonprofit organizations on corporate governance, federal tax law compliance, fundraising regulation, contract negotiations, and intellectual property matters. She also counsels for-profit businesses on corporate philanthropy and social impact initiatives.

From 2009-17, Karen served on the Board of Directors of Open Hands Legal Services, a Christian legal aid ministry serving low income New Yorkers. Karen and her family attend Emmanuel Presbyterian Church in Arlington, Virginia.

Hannah Akintoye

Board Member

About
Attorney Hannah Akintoye, is the managing attorney of Hannah Akintoye Law, PLLC, a leading Washington, DC law firm focused on criminal defense, and criminal record-sealing representation. Attorney Akintoye is an experienced trial attorney having handled hundreds of trial matters with dozens litigated to a verdict. She enjoys educating her community on their legal rights and is an advocate for fair treatment of those involved in the criminal justice system.

Sam Logan

Board Member

About

Sam has served on the CLADC Board since 2007. During that time, he has also served as clinic director at the Central Union Mission clinic and as a volunteer. Sam is currently Chief Legal Officer for an artificial intelligence company headquartered in Washington, DC. Previously, Sam was Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for a global education technology company. From 2005-2010, Sam worked in the Washington, DC office of a large law firm. At the firm, he represented clients across the communications, education, healthcare, aerospace and defense industries. Sam received his J.D. with honors in 2005 from Georgetown University Law Center. Sam lives in the Washington, DC metro region with his artist wife and their two children. 

Anna Cho

Board Member

About

Anna has served with CLADC as a volunteer attorney since 2019 and joined CLADC’s board in 2023. She is originally from New Jersey and has called the Washington, DC area her home since 2014. She earned her undergraduate degree from Johns Hopkins University and her law degree from the University of Pennsylvania (now Carey) Law School. Anna currently works for an international organization headquartered in DC in its legal corporate finance group, and prior to that, she worked in the corporate practice groups of two law firms in New York and DC. Anna is a member of Restoration Church in DC.

Dr. Carmelle Norice

Board Member

About

Dr. Carmelle T. Norice is an infectious diseases physician-scientist based in the Washington, D.C. metro area. The daughter of a father on medical parole after 25 years of confinement in a maximum-security Texas state prison, Carmelle compassionately serves and advocates for system-impacted individuals and families as a leader of prison and reentry ministry at National Community Church in Washington, D.C., a Justice Ambassador for Prison Fellowship, and a Board member of The Frederick Douglass Project for Justice. Carmelle previously served as a tutor for returning citizens at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a guest lecturer for both the Goucher Prison Education Partnership and the Young Men Emerging Unit at the D.C. Jail.

Join Our Team

Join us in providing access to justice for the most vulnerable.

God calls on all of us to have compassion for those who are vulnerable and oppressed, and show our love by taking action (1 John 3:17). We are committing to showing Christ’s love to our neighbors in DC by securing justice for them. If you want to work out your faith alongside us, please come join our group of passionate volunteers!

* Sources

Edelman, Peter B. (2019). Delivering Justice: Addressing Civil Legal Needs in the District of Columbia. Washington, DC: D.C. Access to Justice Commission, p. 1.