Welcome LaShanda Adams – our new legal director who (re)joined Children’s Law Center last month. In her role, LaShanda will lead our work to provide individual legal assistance to more than 5,000 children and families each year as we continue our work to ensure every DC child has a stable family, good health and quality education.
We’re especially excited to have her here with us as we assess our work over the past 25 years and look forward to making a bigger impact in the years to come.
LaShanda began her legal career in 1999 with Children’s Law Center as a staff attorney through the Skadden Fellowship program and stayed until 2004 to run our family permanency project, the precursor to our pro bono program. She brings more than 20 years’ legal experience, most recently as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law at the University of the District of Columbia School of Law where she was awarded tenure in 2016.
As a professor, LaShanda honed her skill at developing the talents of new lawyers, including those representing parents and caregivers in a variety of family law, housing, bankruptcy and estate planning cases and supervised the provision of legal services to clients with HIV/AIDS. She also taught a course on juvenile law and traveled with students on various learning trips both in the U.S. and abroad. LaShanda is eager to support the professional development of the nearly 60 lawyers, social workers and investigators who work full-time at Children’s Law Center and the hundreds of pro bono lawyers who join us to ensure DC children are safe, healthy and learning.
At the beginning of the pandemic, LaShanda and her family were living in Australia while she conducted research for her Fulbright Scholarship. She spent the next three months looking closely at Australia’s child protection system, which – similar to DC and the U.S. – is transitioning to a focus on family services and preventive supports. She dove deep to understand how the South Australian Department for Child Protection is implementing systemic reforms and its impact on Aboriginal children and families.
Prior to her time at the University of the District of Columbia, she held positions at the New Jersey Office of the Child Advocate, the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law and American University Washington College of Law. LaShanda is Vice President of the National Association of Counsel for Children (NACC) Board of Directors and is a frequent presenter at child welfare conferences and has authored several law review articles examining child welfare law, policy and practice. LaShanda grew up in Ohio where her parents instilled a strong sense of community and public service. She lives with her husband and daughter and loves collecting art, pottery and postcards.