DC CODE 45-401 provides:
(a) The common law, all British statutes in force in Maryland on February 27, 1801, the principles of equity and admiralty, all general acts of Congress not locally inapplicable in the District of Columbia, and all acts of Congress by their terms applicable to the District of Columbia and to other places under the jurisdiction of the United States, in force in the District of Columbia on March 3, 1901, shall remain in force except insofar as the same are inconsistent with, or are replaced by, some provision of the 1901 Code.

In re Phillips, 871 A. 2d 513 - DC: Court of Appeals 2005 states:
This court has stated that "[u]nder the common law, any adult or emancipated person could change his ... name at will, without any legal proceedings, simply by adopting another name, as long as he did not do so for a fraudulent or criminal purpose." Brown v. Brown, 384 A.2d 632, 632 (D.C.1977). We noted that "a statute which sets forth a procedure by which a person can petition a court for a change of name ... [does] not abrogate the common law right." We went on to state: "The use of a statute ... has advantages in that it is `speedy, definite and a matter of record, so as to be easily proved even after the death of all contemporaneous witnesses.' "Id. at 632-33.