Lynn Cunningham Retires as Of Counsel to TPM

After more than 40 years of practicing law and 22 years as of counsel with Terris, Pravlik & Millian, LLP, our good friend and colleague Lynn Cunningham has announced that he is retiring from the practice of law.  We will miss him and wish him luck in his future endeavors.

Lynn’s legal career is a testament to his life-long commitment to advocate for the public interest. Over his 40-year legal career, Lynn has represented the neediest people in Washington DC and elsewhere to gain access to health care, housing, and welfare through impact litigation in the federal and local courts.  Lynn is also an Episcopal priest who was the Rector of St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Dubois, Wyoming from 2005 to 2011. 

Lynn graduated from Cornell University in 1966 and Union Theological Seminary in 1969.  After graduating from Columbia University Law School in 1972, Lynn began his legal career with the New York firm of Lovejoy, Wasson, Lundgren & Ashton.  In 1975, Lynn moved to Washington DC, where he joined the law offices of Florence Wagman Roisman, which served as the Washington Branch Office of the National Housing Law Project.  There, he worked on complex class actions, including a successful nationwide class action lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to release $60 million in impounded multifamily housing subsidy funds, an action against HUD to prevent the demolition of a low-income housing project in the District of Columbia, and an action against the U.S. Secretary of Labor to provide employment goals and timetables for women in the skilled construction trades.

In 1977, Lynn joined the nonprofit law firm Neighborhood Legal Services Program, where he worked in the Law Reform Unit and became the managing attorney of the unit in 1980.  At Neighborhood Legal Services, Lynn practiced as lead counsel or co-counsel in major litigation in the District of Columbia in the areas of landlord-tenant, low-income housing, consumer protection, homelessness, and public benefits, resulting in substantial relief for the plaintiffs in those cases.

In 1993, Lynn joined Terris, Pravlik & Millian, LLP, in bringing a successful class action lawsuit, Salazar v. District of Columbia, challenging the District of Columbia’s operation of its Medicaid program on behalf of Medicaid recipients and applicants to enforce their statutory and Constitutional rights. In 1996, Lynn joined Terris, Pravlik & Millian, LLP, as of counsel. For the past 20 years, Lynn has been providing strategic advice as co-counsel in Salazar, as the firm continues to monitor and enforce the District of Columbia’s compliance with a consent decree in that case.  His knowledge of class reform litigation in the District of Columbia has been invaluable to the firm. 

In 1996, Lynn became a professor of clinical law at the George Washington University Law School, where he co-led the Public Justice Advocacy Clinic teaching students to vigorously advocate for the most disadvantaged members of society.  During his tenure as professor at George Washington University Law School, he acted as lead counsel or co-counsel in class action lawsuits on behalf homeowners who lost their homes as a result of the failure of their mortgage lenders to maintain proper licenses for making mortgage loans in the District of Columbia, school children with disabilities challenging the failure of the D.C. Public Schools to maintain emergency evacuation plans, and prisoners in the D.C. jail who were illegally strip searched and detained beyond their release dates in violation of their Constitutional rights.  He retired as Professor Emeritus of Clinical Law in 2005.  From 2005 to 2017, Lynn continued practicing as a solo practitioner in complex federal litigation under the Constitution or federal statutes on behalf of incarcerated and low-income people.

Lynn has published many articles on affordable housing and poverty issues, most notably updating the Neighborhood Legal Services Program Landlord and Tenant Manual, a widely used reference manual on landlord-tenant law.  In recognition of his contributions to the public interest, Lynn has been awarded the Legal Aid Society of DC Servant of Justice Award, the Stuart Stiller Award, and the Jerrold Scoutt Prize.

Michael Huang