COVID-19 UPDATE

Domestic violence victims are experiencing violence at unprecedented levels and the need for our services has skyrocketed. With the increases in incidents of abuse, we need you to join our team.

Volunteer With Us

The DC Volunteer Lawyers Project provides all you need to become a volunteer lawyer including intensive training, in-court supervision and mentoring by an experienced DCVLP Supervising Attorney, a weekly newsletter, an online legal library and many other resources so you can effectively represent domestic violence victims and at-risk children in the District of Columbia. No DC Bar license required!

Scroll down for information what we do and click the links on the right for more details. Thank you for your interest and we look forward to having you join our team!

For my client, it took her from feeling lost and forgotten, to feeling like she had a purpose and a place in this world. – A DCVLP volunteer lawyer on on representing her child-client

Get Involved

I’m just a regular person, and I believe regular people should take a stand against domestic violence. We need to add our voices in support of survivors. And so, I do.
A DCVLP volunteer lawyer on representing victims in court

Urgent Volunteer Needs

COVID-19 Response Projects

We urgently need volunteers for both of these projects, as the need among domestic violence survivors  for legal services continues to increase amidst prolonged stay-at-home orders, economic hardship, and general uncertainty.

Protection Assistance Project

Having the support of a lawyer in crafting their CPO petition and knowing their legal rights significantly increases a survivor’s chance of securing long-term safety & stability. Just a few hours of your time makes a lasting impact.

1. ACTIVITIES:

Assist domestic violence survivors with Civil Protection Orders, from drafting and filing their petition, to possibly representing in Court.

2. RESOURCES:

  • Access to an on-call DCVLP Supervising Attorney who will review the petition before filing and assist you in providing appropriate legal advice
  • Online project-specific training, including guidance on navigating the online CPO filing system, and best practices for conducting trauma-sensitive client interviews

3. LOGISTICS

  • Volunteers are on-call for a 4-hour shift. Calls come in throughout the shift and are passed to volunteers as we receive them. Each petition takes about an hour to draft.

4. GET INVOLVED

Immigration Legal Clinic

Volunteers provide advice on immigration relief to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and other violence at our Immigration Legal Clinic (Wednesdays from 1-4pm). Activities include advice on potential available forms of relief, review of applications, and other necessary assistance.

Sign up for a 3-hour shift here. Our Immigration Program Manager will be in touch with more information.

Virtual Family Legal Clinic

Fridays from 1-4pm via Zoom. Volunteers provide legal advice on protection orders, custody, divorce, and immigration matters to domestic violence survivors and caregivers of at-risk children. Pre-scheduled clients meet with volunteers via video or phone. Online training materials are available and required prior to your first shift, and a DCVLP Supervising Attorney is always available for guidance on the advice to provide clients.

Sign up for a 3-hour shift here. Our Domestic Violence Program Manager will be in touch with more information.

Volunteer Opportunities

Civil Protection Orders

Civil Protection Orders (CPOs or “stay-away” orders) are many survivors’ first step in seeking safety form abuse. DCVLP volunteer attorneys help survivors achieve safety and stability in their lives by CPOs against their abusers, which can include relief such as ordering the abuser not to harm or harass the victim, granting temporary custody and child support to the victim, and ordering the abuser to obtain counseling for domestic violence or drug abuse.

Current Volunteer Opportunities

In-Court Advocacy

These cases provide supervised in-court litigation experience in a short time frame. Volunteers may sign up far in advance to represent a client on a certain hearing date, allowing busy attorneys to predict when they will need to be in court.

Average case length: 2-4 weeks

Average time commitment: 15 hours


COVID-19 Changes

All hearings are currently taking place virtually, and cases are lasting 8-9 months. Please contact our Domestic Violence Program Manager to inquire about available cases.

Protection Assistance Project

Having the support of a lawyer in crafting their CPO petition and knowing their legal rights significantly increases a survivor’s chance of securing long-term safety & stability. Just a few hours of your time makes a lasting impact.

1. ACTIVITIES:

Assist domestic violence survivors with Civil Protection Orders, from drafting and filing their petition, to possibly representing in Court.

2. RESOURCES:

  • Access to an on-call DCVLP Supervising Attorney who will review the petition before filing and assist you in providing appropriate legal advice
  • Online project-specific training, including guidance on navigating the online CPO filing system, and best practices for conducting trauma-sensitive client interviews

3. LOGISTICS

  • Volunteers are on-call for a 4-hour shift. Calls come in throughout the shift and are passed to volunteers as we receive them. Each petition takes about an hour to draft.

Family Law

On average, it takes a domestic violence survivor seven tries to leave her abuser for good. Many clients have already obtained temporary relief through a civil protection order, and are seeking more lasting separation. DCVLP volunteer attorneys advocate for survivors by helping them obtain permanent divorce or custody arrangement that will protect the clients and their children from further harm.

Current Volunteer Opportunities

In-Court Advocacy

These cases provide a full range of supervised litigation experience, including discovery, motions practice, negotiations, and hearings, and often trial.

Average case length: 6-12 months with hearings every 2-3 months

Average time commitment: 10-15 hours per month


COVID-19 Changes

All hearings are currently held virtually. Please contact our Domestic Violence Program Manager to inquire about available cases.

Child Advocacy

Judges appoint DCVLP volunteer attorneys as Guardians ad litem to represent the best interests of children living with abuse, neglect, domestic violence and other dangers to help ensure they grow up in safe and stable homes. DCVLP’s Guardian ad litem volunteers investigate, review reports, interview parties and witnesses, negotiate with other parties, and make recommendations for custody and social services.

Current Volunteer Opportunities

In-Court Advocacy

These cases provide substantial supervised experience in investigation, negotiation, and litigation.

Average case length: 6-12 months with hearings every 2-3 months

Average time commitment: 10-15 hours per month


COVID-19 Changes

All hearings are currently held virtually. The majority of investigations can take place virtually, but some in-person activities may be necessary. Please contact our Child Advocacy Program Manager to inquire about available cases.

Immigration

Abusers often use immigration status to control survivors and prevent them from leaving. DCVLP volunteer attorneys empower survivors with knowledge about their rights, and provide assistance in seeking immigration relief without their abusers’ knowledge or consent.

Current Volunteer Opportunities

Advocacy for Immigrant Survivors

Volunteers help immigrant survivors of violence and their families find relief through a variety of means, such as asylum, special visas for victims of crime, standby guardianship, and adjustments in status. Activities include preparing applications for immigration relief, appearing at administrative hearings, helping survivors prepare for immigration interviews, and other activities.

Average case length: varies depending on type of case

Average time commitment: 10-15 hours per month

Please contact our Immigration Program Manager to inquire about available cases.

Immigration Legal Clinic

Volunteers provide advice on immigration relief to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and other violence at our Immigration Legal Clinic (Wednesdays from 1-4pm). Activities include advice on potential available forms of relief, review of applications, and other necessary assistance.

Sign up for a 3-hour shift here. Our Immigration Program Manager will be in touch with more information.