Ariel B. Levinson-Waldman
President and Director-Counsel, Tzedek DC
Adjunct Professor of Law
B.S., Northwestern University; J.D., University of Chicago
Ariel Levinson-Waldman is the Founding President and Director-Counsel of Tzedek DC, an independent public interest center at the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law. Tzedek DC’s mission is to safeguard the legal rights of low-income DC residents facing often unjust, life-altering debt collection lawsuits and other consumer protection crises.
Previously, Ariel served in a series of government roles. He worked in the Obama administration as the Department of Labor Advisor to the White House Interagency Legal Aid Roundtable, a coordinated effort to promote low-income Americans' access to civil legal aid as part of the federal government's anti-poverty efforts. He served before that as the Senior Counsel to the DC Attorney General, where he played a Chief of Staff role and helped direct the District’s consumer protection enforcement and policy advocacy efforts. For that work, he received the 2014 Daniel Curtin Award, given annually to one public lawyer in the country under the age of forty for outstanding service to the public and the highest ethics and integrity in the practice of public law. And earlier in his career, he served under Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the Office of General Counsel of the U.S. House of Representatives, where he received a bi-partisan Congressional Tribute for Distinguished Service.
Before his government lawyer service, Ariel practiced for five years in the Litigation Department of WilmerHale, where his work included representing the NAACP, and he was a Fellow at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Voting Rights Project. Ariel began his legal career by serving as a law clerk to Judge Robert H. Henry of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit and Judge Louis F. Oberdorfer of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Ariel has handled or supervised a broad range of litigation matters in cases ranging from constitutional controversies to commercial disputes to debt collection defense cases in DC Superior Court. He has taught a course on state and local government since 2013 as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of the District of Columbia David A Clarke School of Law, and has taught at the Georgetown University Law Center. In 2016, he was appointed by Chief Judge Merrick Garland to the D.C. Circuit's Judicial Conference Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services.
Ariel is a graduate, with honors, of Northwestern University and of the University of Chicago Law School, where he was a student attorney in the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic Employment Discrimination Project and an editor on the University of Chicago Law Review. His commitment to access to justice in our society stems in part from his grandparents' experiences as Holocaust survivors and his father's experience as an immigrant to the United States. Ariel lives in the District of Columbia with his wife Rachel Levinson-Waldman, a civil liberties lawyer at the Brennan Center for Justice, and their daughter and son.