The DCVLP is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and is funded 100% by private donations. We need your support to continue to provide free civil legal services to low-income women, children and families in the District of Columbia in family law cases. Donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.
Mail donation to:
DC Volunteer Lawyers Project
5335 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Suite 440
Washington, DC 20015
FAQs About Donations
1. How is the DCVLP different from other pro bono legal services organizations?
To our knowledge, the DCVLP is the only pro bono legal services organization in the country specifically created to take advantage of an untapped legal resource – experienced lawyers who have left the full-time practice of law, many of them to raise a family. Although some DC legal services organizations provide malpractice insurance for pro bono attorneys who handle their cases, they do not pay for all of the other costs involved in practicing law -- such as court filing fees, process server fees, transcript fees and online legal research. Nor do they provide a mailing address for receiving court communications, office meeting space or supervision and partnering on cases.
2. Don’t legal services organizations already exist in DC to help low-income individuals with their civil legal needs? Why is another legal services organization needed?
Although other legal services organizations in DC provide civil legal help to low-income Washingtonians, there are many more cases than attorneys available to handle them on a pro bono basis.
In fact, the DC Access to Justice Commission has issued an urgent call for more pro bono attorneys, especially in the area of family law. In its 2008 Civil Legal Needs Report, the commission found that in DC Superior Court, 98% of individuals proceed without counsel in domestic violence cases, 77% of people seeking custody of their children or a divorce do not have an attorney, and 38% of people seeking to adopt proceed without counsel. The DCVLP’s volunteer lawyers help to alleviate this problem with every case they take.
3. What are the backgrounds of DCVLP lawyers?
Many of our volunteer lawyers have years of experience in private practice, federal and state government, legal services and other nonprofit organizations. They have worked as partners or associates at national law firms, clerked for federal and state judges, served in the US Department of Justice and as state prosecutors, and volunteered with their local schools and communities. Most of our volunteers have left the full-time practice of law to raise families; some are in transition between jobs or careers; and others are government attorneys who want to do pro bono work.
4. Where does the DCVLP get its cases? Does the DCVLP take direct referrals?
The DCVLP currently takes cases referred by one of several nonprofit and government sources: the Foster and Adoptive Parent Advocacy Center (FAPAC), Women Empowered Against Violence, Inc. (WEAVE), and DC Superior Court Judges.
The DCVLP does not accept direct referrals from the public at this time.
5. How is the DCVLP financed?
Our funding comes exclusively from private donations. The Verizon Foundation recently awarded us a grant to support our work providing legal representation to survivors of domestic violence. This grant will allow the DCVLP to help more domestic violence survivors achieve safety and independence.
6. How will my donation dollars be spent?
Donations are used to pay for malpractice insurance for our volunteer lawyers, office space so they can meet with clients, online legal research and litigation expenses such as filing fees and process servers.