Our Team

The goal of the D.C. Tenants' Rights Center is to provide a range of affordable legal services, from educational workshops, to legal coaching, to representation during negotiations, to full representation in court, so that all D.C. tenants can access the justice system.

Marc Borbely

The D.C. Tenants’ Rights Center was founded in 2013 by attorney Marc Borbely. Marc has represented more than two thousand tenants in disputes with landlords, in the District of Columbia. He has a 10.0 rating on AVVO, and more than 45 positive client reviews. Marc is admitted to practice law in the District. He has been serving as a landlord-tenant mentor to other attorneys, through the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program, since 2011. Marc received a B.S. in biochemistry at Yale University and a law degree at the U.D.C. David A. Clarke School of Law. He serves as co-chair of the D.C. Bar's Courts, Lawyers, and Administration of Justice Community. In 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018, Marc was named a Rising Star by SuperLawyers. From 2008 to December 2012, Marc was a staff attorney at Neighborhood Legal Services Program. Marc has lived on Capitol Hill since 1999 and is the proud father of two girls (born in late 2012 and mid-2015).

 

Catherine Denny

Before joining our firm in 2016, Attorney Catherine Denny served as a Public Defender for the Colorado State Public Defenders’ Office in Brighton, Colorado. As a Public Defender, Catherine represented clients in twelve jury trials. Catherine enjoys using her litigation experience to enthusiastically and zealously represent tenants in the District of Columbia. Catherine received a Bachelor of Arts from Colby College and a Juris Doctor with a Constitutional Rights and Remedies Certificate from University of Denver, Sturm College of Law. Catherine road biked across the country from Washington to Maine, and mountain biked up the country from New Mexico to Montana. Catherine is admitted to practice law in Colorado and in the District of Columbia.

 

Andrew Kirtley

Before joining the D.C. Tenants' Rights Center in 2016, Attorney Andrew Kirtley was an attorney at the law firm of Terris, Pravlik & Millian, where he worked on two federal class actions against the District of Columbia, brought by D.C. Medicaid recipients and children eligible to receive special education services from D.C. Public Schools. During law school, Andrew worked for a federal magistrate judge in Manhattan, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Navajo Nation Department of Justice, and the Human Rights Law Network (an impact-litigation organization in India). Andrew has degrees from Northeastern University School of Law, Vermont Law School, and Berklee College of Music. He speaks French and held a variety of jobs before becoming an attorney, including bookseller, English-as-a-Second-Language teacher, and bicycle messenger. Andrew is licensed to practice law in Massachusetts, New York, the District of Columbia, and before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He is a tenant in the District of Columbia.

 

Leigh Higgins

Originally from Ohio, attorney Leigh Higgins graduated from the University of Montana and then started her legal career representing student tenants at the Ohio State University during law school.  She is licensed to practice in New Mexico and in the District of Columbia.  While living in Albuquerque, Leigh practiced in bankruptcy and civil courts and represented the State of New Mexico, working for the Child Support Enforcement Division.  Leigh also serves on the board of Hyattsville Aging in Place, a volunteer organization that helps seniors in her community. She joined the D.C. Tenants' Rights Center in 2016.

 

Jessica Johnson

Attorney Jessica Johnson brings a wealth of housing and litigation experience to the D.C. Tenants' Rights Center, which she joined in 2016. Having practiced as a housing unit staff attorney with Colorado Legal Services and as a Public Defender for the Colorado State Public Defenders Office in Pueblo, Colorado, Jessica brings dedication, compassion, and a breadth of public service experience to the firm. Jessica received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Florida, and a Juris Doctorate from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University. She is licensed to practice law in the State of Colorado and the District of Columbia. Jessica enjoys spending time with her family, singing, and sewing in her spare time.

 

Samantha Howard

Administrative Legal Assistant Samantha Howard joined the D.C Tenants' Rights Center in 2017 after finishing a service year with the AmeriCorps program, City Year, at Cardozo Education Campus. Originally from Manchester, New Hampshire, Samantha graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a dual bachelor's degree in Sociology and Justice Studies. She joined the Military Police Corps of the Army National Guard in 2012 and continues to serve the D.C. community today as a Capital Guardian in the 273rd MP Company. Samantha enjoys hiking and reading botany books in the National Arboretum. She is excited to continue serving the community at the D.C. Tenants’ Rights Center. She is a tenant in the District of Columbia.

 

Nirmala Lazare

Nirmala Lazare is our newest Administrative Legal Assistant. She is an accomplished gymnast and gymnastics coach. She is studying criminal justice at the University of Maryland University College. She began working at the D.C. Tenants' Rights Center in 2018.