NANCY E. DRANE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Nancy Drane is Executive Director of the District of Columbia Access to Justice Commission. Nancy manages the Commission’s efforts to increase local resources for the District’s civil legal services network, reduce barriers that prevent equal access to justice for low- and moderate-income District residents, promote greater pro bono service by local attorneys, improve planning and coordination of legal services delivery in the District, and call attention to the disparity between the community need for legal services and the resources available to meet those needs.
Prior to joining the Commission in November 2016, Nancy had a 13-year career at Children’s Law Center (CLC), the District’s largest civil legal services provider. Nancy joined CLC as a staff attorney in 2003 and served as its first training director from 2006-2012. From 2012-2016, Nancy was CLC’s Pro Bono Director. In that role, Nancy connected hundreds of pro bono attorneys with opportunities to represent adults in adoption, guardianship, custody, special education, and affirmative housing conditions cases, as well as to serve as guardian ad litem to children in complex custody proceedings. Nancy is on the Board of the Washington Council of Lawyers, a voluntary bar association committed to the promotion of pro bono and public interest law, and DC Refers, an online directory of attorneys willing to assisting modest-means District residents at reduced rates. Nancy has presented both locally and nationally on a broad range of issues, including pro bono, attorney training, child welfare, cultural competency, and vicarious trauma. Nancy has been certified as a Child Welfare Law Specialist by the National Association of Counsel for Children.
Nancy received her law degree, cum laude, from Loyola University Chicago School of Law, where she was a Child Law Fellow. During law school, Nancy interned with the American Bar Association, the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and a large private law firm. After graduating from law school, Nancy clerked for the Honorable Dominic J. Squatrito of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut. She graduated from Boston College in 1994 with a degree in Political Science and Communications and served as the President of the Undergraduate Government of Boston College. Before attending law school, Nancy worked as an elementary school teacher in Chicago, Illinois, and administered an education-related non-profit.
DIANA SISSON, STAFF ATTORNEY
Diana Sisson is a Staff Attorney with the District of Columbia Access to Justice Commission. Diana supports the Commission’s efforts to increase local resources for the District’s civil legal services network, reduce barriers that prevent equal access to justice for low- and moderate-income District residents, promote greater pro bono service by local attorneys, improve planning and coordination of legal services delivery in the District, and call attention to the disparity between the community need for legal services and the resources available to meet those needs. Diana also serves as a volunteer mediator with the D.C. Courts Multidoor Dispute Resolution Center.
Prior to joining the Commission in April 2020, Diana served as a Senior Staff Attorney with the Children’s Law Center’s medical-legal partnership, Healthy Together. Diana began her career with Children’s Law Center as an Equal Justice Works fellow sponsored by the Morrison & Foerster Foundation. Diana also served as law clerk to the Honorable Craig Iscoe of D.C. Superior Court from 2015-2016, and worked with Casey Family Program’s Judicial Engagement Team from 2014-2015.
Diana graduated from the University of Michigan School of Law in 2014 and while enrolled there, participated in its Pediatric and Child Advocacy Clinics. While in law school she also interned with JustChildren and the Detroit Center for Family Advocacy. Diana received her M.S.W. from the University of Michigan School of Social Work, also in 2014. She is a graduate of the College of William and Mary.
MARGARET EMERY, STAFF ATTORNEY
Margaret Emery joined in February 2023 as a Staff Attorney with the District of Columbia Access to Justice Commission. Margaret previously served as a staff attorney with the Tenant Advocate and Support unit at Legal Counsel for the Elderly, where she represented low-income, elderly D.C. residents in a range of housing matters. Margaret also worked as a staff attorney at the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center and represented clients in paternity and child support cases at Bread for the City. Margaret graduated in 2011 from Georgetown University Law Center, where she participated in the Center for Applied Legal Studies, the Law Center’s asylum clinic. She holds an undergraduate degree from Princeton University and an M.A. in International Affairs from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. Margaret serves as a volunteer attorney on the Legal Counsel for the Elderly Hotline.
JESSICA ROSENBAUM, SENIOR ADVISOR
Jessica Rosenbaum is the Senior Advisor of the D.C. Access to Justice Commission. She served as Executive Director of the Commission from 2009 to 2016.
Jess started her career as a Skadden Fellow and then staff and supervising attorney at the Legal Aid Society of D.C. She specialized in cases involving children in the abuse and neglect system, domestic violence, kinship care, and welfare reform. From 1999 to 2001, Jess served as counsel in the Office of Policy Development at the Department of Justice where she worked extensively on issues relating to children, violence against women, immigration and welfare. She also managed the Department’s Pro Bono Program. After leaving the Justice Department, Jess served as attorney-advisor at the Department of State. She worked with the Office of Children’s Issues on international adoption and international parental kidnapping. She worked extensively on implementation of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption and the regulations implementing the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000. She was also a delegate to the U.S./German Bilateral Working Group on International Parental Child Abduction and worked on an international training for judges on the Hague Treaty on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. After leaving the State Department, Jess was the Coordinator for the D.C. Consortium of Legal Services Providers, an umbrella organization through which local legal services organizations perform joint projects and advocacy. She has also served as a consultant on poverty law issues, undertaking projects for the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program, the D.C. Bar Foundation, and the UDC – David A. Clarke School of Law.
Jess is on the Honorary Board of the Washington Council of Lawyers, the only voluntary bar association in the District dedicated to promoting public interest and pro bono work, and served as President in 2006 – 2007. She has also served on the D.C. Bar’s Family Law Steering Committee as Co-Chair and as Community Outreach Coordinator.