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CAIR Coalition’s Kathryn Doan Garners 2015 Jerrold Scoutt Prize

February 2, 2015

Kathy DoanKathryn M. Doan, executive director of the Capital Area Immigrants' Rights (CAIR) Coalition, is the 2015 recipient of the District of Columbia Bar Foundation’s Jerrold Scoutt Prize.

The Bar Foundation awards the prize each year to public interest attorneys who devote their career to providing legal services to the District’s low-income residents. The award recognizes the recipients for their high degree of skill and compassionate concern for their clients and their legal needs.

“I’ve spent many years in the legal services provider community, and I’ve just had great admiration for the other individuals who have won the [Scoutt Prize],” Doan said. “To be in the company of those great folks is really quite humbling.”

The CAIR Coalition works to ensure the human and civil rights of immigrants in the Washington, D.C., region are respected. Its legal services program assists individuals, including unaccompanied immigrant children, detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in local jails.

In 2014 the organization provided individual consultations to more than 1,400 individuals detained in 1 of 6 detention facilities in Maryland and Virginia, Doan said. In addition, the group provided legal assistance to 562 unaccompanied immigrant children between the ages of 9 and 17 held in 6 juvenile facilities in the region.

The CAIR Coalition also provides resources, training, and networking strategies for local immigrant advocacy groups and service providers, as well as for the private immigration bar in the District, Maryland, and Virginia. The coalition partners with more than 30 local law firms to provide free legal assistance to immigrants detained in local jails. Last year the organization provided pro bono attorneys, either from its staff or through its partnership with local law firms, for 107 adults and children.

“We help a lot of folks in a year’s time,” Doan said.

“Kathy exemplifies the spirit of the Scoutt Prize in her commitment to providing high-quality legal services to detained immigrants,” said Kirra L. Jarratt, executive director of the D.C. Bar Foundation. “She is incredibly deserving of this recognition.”

Doan, a 25-year member of the Washington, D.C., legal services community, has been the CAIR Coalition’s executive director since 2008. Previously, she worked at the Central American Resource Center and was a staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia.

“The driver for me has always been the clients,” Doan said.

The courage her clients have shown has been an inspiration. “You know, fleeing danger in your own country, coming here with nothing, having to start over, not knowing the language—whatever problems I might have had just paled in comparison,” she said.

“I went to law school with the specific intent to do public interest law. I had worked for a nonprofit before,” Doan said. “I just saw so many people coming who desperately needed attorneys, and I felt that the way I could be useful and helpful to folks was to become an attorney. And so I did.”

The Scoutt Prize is named in honor of Jerrold Scoutt Jr., a founding partner at Zuckert, Scoutt & Rasenberger, LLP who was committed to helping the poor get access to legal services. The winner receives a stipend of $2,500, which is funded by the firm.

The D.C. Bar Foundation will present the Scoutt Prize on April 17 at the Judicial Reception, part of the larger District of Columbia Judicial and Bar Conference. For more information, contact Kirra L. Jarratt at 202-467-3750, ext. 12, or jarratt@dcbarfoundation.org.