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
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

Volunteer Opportunities

Domestic Violence

Representing Victims in Court

Civil Protection Orders

DCVLP volunteers help survivors of domestic violence achieve safety and stability in their lives by obtaining civil protection orders (CPOs) against their abusers (also known as “stay-away” orders). CPO cases in DC Superior Court are handled as emergency proceedings to ensure the safety of the petitioner and her children. CPOs order the abuser not to harm or harass the victim. They may also grant temporary custody and child support to the victim, and order the abuser to obtain counseling for domestic violence or drug abuse.

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

Family Law

They say it takes a domestic violence victim seven tries to leave her abuser. When DCVLP represents domestic violence survivors in family law cases, they have made the decision to leave their abuser for good. Most of DCVLP’s family law clients have already obtained temporary relief through a civil protection order. Volunteers then help the client obtain a more lasting separation from the abusive relationship, through a permanent divorce or custody arrangement that will protect the client and her children from harm.

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

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

Child Advocacy

Representing At-Risk Children as Court-appointed Guardians ad litem

Judges appoint DCVLP volunteer lawyers as Guardians ad litem to represent children living with abuse, neglect, domestic violence, or parental drug abuse, or 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, speak in front of the judge and make recommendations for custody and social services. Our volunteer attorneys serve as a voice in court for these vulnerable children.

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

Immigration

Representing Survivors in Immigration Cases

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.

Average case length: varies depending on type of case

Average time commitment: 10-15 hours per month