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Karen Newton Cole, '87 to head Neighborhood Legal Services

Thursday, July 20, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Joe Libertelli
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Neighborhood Legal Services Program Logo and Karen Newton Cole

Congratulations to Karen Newton Cole, '87, who will be assuming the Directorship of DC's Neighborhood Legal Services Program!  

NLSP is a private, non-profit law firm whose mission is to provide vigorous, high-quality and client-centered civil legal services in matters that affect the fundamental needs of low-income residents of the District of Columbia. Established in 1964, NLSP over the years has been a pioneering force in the fight for justice on behalf of the poor. The NLSP staff is diverse, multi-lingual and passionate in providing services to our clients.

From the NLSP Press Release:

July 13, 2017


The DC Neighborhood Legal Services Program is very pleased to announce that on July 24, 2017, Karen Newton Cole will join NLPS as its Executive Director. A lifelong DC resident and former NLSP Managing Attorney, Ms. Newton Cole brings a strong combination of management, lawyering, and leadership know-how to directing NLSP's programs for serving the most vulnerable residents of the District of Columbia.

As a fourth-generation Washingtonian and an alumnus of DC's public schools, Ms. Newton Cole possesses a well-informed perspective on the District's many diverse neighborhoods, and their residents' aspirations and civil-justice needs. From her earliest days as a student at the Antioch School of Law (predecessor to the University of the District of Columbia’s David A. Clarke School of Law), and her practice as an attorney first at NLSP and then at a law firm representing non-profit organizations focused upon housing matters, Ms. Newton Cole has demonstrated a commitment to advocating on behalf of the District's low-income residents whose needs for civil legal services often go largely unmet.

In taking on the leadership of NLSP, Ms. Newton Cole said, "I am delighted to be returning to NLSP where I began my legal career. Ensuring the fulfillment of NLSP's mission is particularly important when low-income DC residents are faced with mounting uncertainty in such critical areas as the preservation of affordable housing, overcoming barriers to employment, consumer protection and family law. I look forward to sharing my experiences and working with members of NLSP's talented and committed staff as they address clients' needs with respect to these and other most basic civil legal rights."

Ms. Newton Cole comes to NLSP from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development headquarters office, where over the past 20 years she held management positions encompassing a range of responsibilities. These included the improvement of public housing facilities and their financial performance, human resource/capital programs, operations and management (including HUD specialty offices in the field), and HUD's utilization of small and disadvantaged businesses. The depth of Ms. Newton Cole's experience as a HUD executive in these areas will serve NLSP well as the organization moves forward in the coming years.

Blake Biles, Co-Chair of NLSP's Board of Directors, commented, "Karen will be an excellent leader of NLSP's terrific staff of attorneys and other professionals. We are particularly fortunate to have Karen join us at a time when, more than ever, free legal-services programs are essential to supporting many of our District neighbors and other residents in addressing the range of civil legal challenges that they encounter." And Co-Chair Anne Ford said, "as a community member of NLSP's Board of Directors, I am particularly impressed by Karen's knowledge of and experience with people and organizations throughout DC. NLSP is deeply committed to providing legal services out in neighborhoods where our clients and their families live, and Karen will be an excellent leader in implementing NLSP's programs in those neighborhoods."

For additional information, please contact either Mr. Biles at 202-942-5836/, or Ms. Newton Cole (after July 24) at 202-269- 5103 or

Also please note that NLSP's Headquarters Office has moved to a new location: 64 New York Avenue NE, Suite 180, Washington, DC 20002 (the former Peoples Drug Store Warehouse building) -- near the NoMa-Galludet U/New York Avenue Metro station on the Red Line.


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