CLASI announced that Daniel Atkins will serve as its new Executive Director. William Dunne retired July 10 after nearly 20 years with the agency, including 3 years as Executive Director.
Atkins has worked at CLASI for 25 years, beginning as a staff attorney in his first job after graduating from law school. For most of his tenure at CLASI, Atkins has served as the Legal Advocacy Director of he Disabilities Law Program. Recently Atkins also became Project Director of its new Medical-Legal Partnership, that serves low-income pregnant women through funding from the Delaware Division of Public Health. Atkins also teaches as an Adjunct Professor at the Delaware Law School- Widener University. Through Widener, he developed a medical-legal partnership in the city of Chester, PA, that also serves low- income pregnant women.
Jerry Hyman, President of the Board of Directors said, “Dan has spent his entire legal career progressively taking on greater and greater responsibilities at CLASI. He is totally committed to the goals of the organization, and we on the Board greatly appreciate his acceptance of the top leadership role.”
Atkins said, “ I am incredibly excited by the opportunity to work with my colleagues at CLASI, the Bar, and in the Delaware community at large, to help protect vulnerable populations by increasing their access to justice. The justice gap in Delaware—and around the country– is large—many more people need our help than we have the resources to serve. So the challenge that confronts us is to give meaning to the last words of our Pledge of Allegiance— ‘. . . and justice for all’.”
CLASI provides free civil legal services to Delaware residents who have low incomes, disabilities or who are age 60 or over. CLASI, founded in 1946, has grown from one attorney in Wilmington to 14 attorneys located througout the state. CLASI’s Poverty Law Program helps low income Delawareans with issues involving government benefits, subsidized housing, domestic violence, and immigration. The Disabilities Law Program helps people with physical or mental disabilities with a wide range of issues, including government benefits, accessibility, education, and mental health treatment. The Elder Law Program helps senior citizens with powers of attorney, advance care directives, debt collection, home repairs, evictions and government benefits. The Fair Housing Program pursues claims on behalf of people encountering housing discrimination. The Medical-Legal Partnership with the Delaware Division of Public Health provides legal services to address the social determinants of the health of low-income pregnant women.