Who We Are


DCVLP’s founders — Karen Barker Marcou, Jenny Brody and Marla Spindel— are shown here accepting the Women’s Bar Association Foundation “Stars of the Bar” award in 2009. They also received the award in 2015.

The DC Volunteer Lawyers Project was founded in 2008 by Karen Barker Marcou, our Executive Director, Marla Spindel, the Managing Attorney of our Child Advocacy Program and Jenny Brody. Our mission is to create, support, and utilize a network of volunteer lawyers to provide high-quality, pro bono legal services to domestic violence victims and at-risk children in Washington, DC.

Today, DCVLP volunteer and staff attorneys handle hundreds of civil protection order and family law cases for victims each year. With our community partners, District Alliance for Safe Housing (DASH), My Sister’s Place and the Anchor Fund, we sponsor a weekly Domestic Violence Resource Clinic where victims annually access legal advice, housing assistance and counseling in a community-based location. Our court-appointed volunteer lawyers also represent the best interests of children — living with abuse, neglect, domestic violence, parental substance abuse and mental illness, and worse — each year.  To help ensure that each client has the tools necessary to start a new life, our Case Manager, a licensed clinical social worker, provides crisis intervention, safety planning and access to comprehensive social services.

Read about our clients here.


In 2015, 225 active DCVLP volunteer lawyers donated 14,500 hours of free legal help to victims and at-risk children.


active volunteer lawyers


hours of donated time

Impact | 2015

In 2015, DCVLP helped a record number of survivors of domestic violence achieve safety and independence, and at-risk children find safe and secure homes.

  • 330 civil protection orders

  • 374 domestic violence clinic clients

  • 84 family law cases

  • 102 at-risk children