The DC Volunteer Lawyers Project is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide high-quality, free legal services to low-income District of Columbia residents in family law cases. Our volunteer lawyers provide pro bono legal representation to:
- survivors of domestic violence in civil protection orders and in custody, visitation, divorce, child support and immigration cases
- children in high-conflict custody cases
- foster parents in adoption, guardianship, placement and licensing matters
- third-party caregivers in custody cases
Pro Bono Services - A Critical Need
The DC Access to Justice Commission has issued an urgent call for more pro bono lawyers to represent low-income residents in the District. In its report entitled, Justice for All? An Examination of the Civil Legal Needs of the District of Columbia’s Low-Income Community, http://www.dcaccesstojustice.org/files/CivilLegalNeedsReport.pdf, the Commission found “what many in our community know all too well – unaddressed civil legal problems can have a devastating impact on a person or family, and there are far too few legal resources available to help people in need.” The statistics are shocking, particularly in family law cases. In DC Superior Court:
- 98% of the parties in civil protection order cases have no lawyer
- 77% of people seeking custody of their children or a divorce proceed without counsel
- 38% of people seeking to adopt children have to represent themselves in court
Surely, we can do better. Founded in 2008 as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, the DCVLP addresses the urgent need for more pro bono family law lawyers by tapping into an unused resource: experienced lawyers who have left full-time legal practice and want to use their legal skills to help the community. The DCVLP recruits, trains and supports these volunteers so that they can help local families achieve stability and security in their lives.
To learn how you can get involved, contact Claudia Gwilliam, Executive Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.