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.

The D.C. Tenants’ Rights Center was founded by attorney Marc Borbely in January 2013. Marc has represented more than two thousand tenants in disputes with landlords, in the District of Columbia. Marc 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; he is a member of the D.C. Bar's Practice Management Service Committee; and he has served as co-chair of the Landlord and Tenant Committee of the D.C. Bar's Real Estate Section. He is admitted to practice law before the D.C. Superior Court/D.C. Court of Appeals, and before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. In 2015, 2016, and 2017, 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).


Before joining our firm, 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 looks forward to utilizing her litigation experience to enthusiastically and zealously represent tenants in D.C. 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 county from Washington to Maine, and mountain biked up the country from New Mexico to Montana. Catherine is licensed to practice law in the Colorado and in the District of Columbia.


Before joining the D.C. Tenants' Rights Center, 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 and the District of Columbia. He is a tenant in the District of Columbia.


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.  


Attorney Jessica Johnson brings a wealth of housing and litigation experience to the D.C. Tenants' Rights Center. 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.


Administrative Legal Assistant Samantha Howard joined the DC Tenants' Rights Center 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.


Kara Allen is a litigation attorney with substantial experience in the courtroom. She began her legal career as an attorney at Coburn & Greenbaum, a boutique trial firm specializing in employment disputes, white collar defense, and government investigations. She successfully defended individuals against actions contemplated by the Securities & Exchange Commission, the Department of Justice, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and the National Archives. Prior to becoming a litigator, Ms. Allen acted as a senior policy advisor for the British government, specializing in employment law, government counter-fraud, and whistleblowing. Kara received her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law and her B.A. in Psychology and English from Wesleyan University. She is licensed to practice in Massachusetts and the District of Columbia. She serves on the board of The Bike House, a charity that provides members of the DC community with bike repair and maintenance services and education. She is a tenant in the District of Columbia.