Oliver Wendell Holmes Award, presented by the American Civil Liberties Union of the National Capital Area, for providing quality legal representation to poor people in the District of Columbia.



Designated as an exemplary project and model by the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration of the U.S. Department of Justice.



Recognized by the National Association of Sentencing Advocates for outstanding efforts to improve advocacy nationwide.



Awarded the Servant of Justice Award by the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia for faithful dedication and remarkable achievement in ensuring all citizens have equal and meaningful access to justice in the District of Columbia.



PDS was highlighted as a “beacon of hope” in the National Legal Aid and Defender Association’s report, “PDS: A Model of Client-Centered Representation.”



Awarded the 14th Annual Frederick Douglass Award by the Southern Center for Human Rights for fifty years of service and demonstration.



Honored by the Foundation for Criminal Justice with the Guardian of Liberty Award.


Acknowledged by Former U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. as “the best public defender’s office in the country” during his forum at Harvard School of Public Health, “Defending Childhood and Youth: An Approach to Ending the Cycle of Violence.”



Honored by the Washington Lawyers' Committee with the Alfred McKenzie The award recognizes the work PDS and others have done as members of the Compassionate Release Clearinghouse, a group formed to receive and manage the many requests for legal assistance submitted by those who want to exercise their rights under the local and federal compassionate release statutes.



The Council Court Excellence awarded PDS, the ACLU, and Covington with its 2022 Justice Potter Stewart Award to recognize their work on the 35-year class action lawsuit, Jerry M. The case successfully challenged the District’s “care” of children in its decrepit and outdated secure juvenile detention facilities. The award goes to “individuals and organizations whose work on behalf of the administration of justice has made a significant contribution to the law, the legal system, the courts, or the administrative process in our nation's capital.” The award honored the long line of PDS staff who contributed to the pursuit and the success of the case during its 35-year history.