Washington Post Interview with Jerry Hartman

In July 2010, Jerry Hartman was interviewed by the Washington Post for a story in its business section. The following story appeared:

Charitable giving highlights: Created the Barbara McDowell Pro Bono Initiative and the Barbara McDowell and Jerry Hartman Foundation; gives scholarship each year to a high school student in the Shaw community of Northwest Washington. …

Barbara had a strong belief in doing social justice programs in the District and beyond. She had an incredibly illustrious career as a lawyer, having been at the Justice Department and a recipient of the prestigious Rex E. Lee Advocacy and Public Service Award.

Instead of going back to private practice, she went to work at the D.C. Legal Aid Society for a very modest salary. …

I wanted to create a high-impact pro bono program at my firm in her name. 

What we do is try to find cases or matters that involve systemic problems. We spend a lot of time identifying cases that fit in the kind of issues that would've fit with Barbara's notion of social justice programs.

The first large case we did was the death penalty matter in Mississippi, challenging the process in which 60 individuals were ultimately sentenced to death. We're not challenging the death penalty directly but rather the process to see if these individuals had a fair opportunity to challenge the competency of their counsel who didn't raise questions about their mental capabilities.

I had received some very nice letters from the inmates on death row, many of whom were presumably mentally retarded, thanking me for pushing this forward. It was really touching.

We're also working with the D.C. Legal Aid Society in investigating and analyzing amendments to the food stamp program to see if District residents are receiving fully what they're entitled to in the Food Stamp Act. …” (July 5, 2010)