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The National Domestic Violence Pro Bono Directory

Women's Bar Foundation---Family Law Project for Battered Women

The Family Law Project (FLP) continues to be the largest pro bono program at the Women's Bar Foundation, drawing over 100 new attorneys each year. The FLP recruits, trains, and mentors attorneys and collaborates with legal and social services to provide high quality representation and assistance to victims of domestic violence. In the past 12 months, the FLP has fielded nearly 1, 500 phone calls from victims of domestic violence, and has conducted more than 200 interviews and evaluations. The FLP has two primary missions. The first is to empower domestic violence victims by giving them a voice in their abuse prevention order and family law cases. As such, we seek to prevent further abuse, homelessness, loss of child custody, and to decrease repeated court hearings. The FLP's second mission is to engage lawyers in pro bono service and, thus, making them stakeholders on issues involving low income domestic violence victims. The FLP meets both of its missions by referring clients to volunteer attorneys trained and mentored by the FLP on issues related to family law and domestic violence. For cases that cannot be immediately referred, the FLP staff will provide ongoing legal support including drafting pleadings, preparing a client for court, and informing clients as to their legal rights and recourses. The FLP is a unique organization because it is designed to meet the legal needs of the underserved in the legal services community who have already been denied representation by a legal services agency and who might otherwise 'fall through the cracks.' About half of the individuals served by the FLP are indigent, according to federal poverty guidelines; the remaining individuals we serve are low income and, thus, make too much money for legal services eligibility but earn too little to be able to afford to retain an attorney.

  • State of Volunteer Opportunity: Massachusetts
  • Area of law: Family & Juvenile, Civil protection orders: Initial proceeding, Civil protection orders: Contempt/Enforcement
  • Populations Served: Domestic Violence Victims, Immigrants, Lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender, Low Income, Persons with Disabilities, State Residents, Women, Working poor and unemployed, Limited English Proficient
  • Opportunities For: Law Students, Lawyers, Mentors, Paralegals
  • Need for non-English services: Chinese, Khmer, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, Russian, Signers for the deaf, Spanish, Vietnamese
  • Hours for Pro Bono Opportunities: Flexible
  • Does the organization provide malpractice insurance for volunteers? Yes
  • Training Provided: Yes
  • Training Required: Yes
  • CLE credit for trainings: No
  • Training / supervision comments: Need to take a two day (four hours each day) comprehensive training course.
  • CLE credit for pro bono: No
  • Mentoring or supervision offered: No
  • Volunteer lawyers need to meet a caseload or hours requirement: Yes
  • Types of projects in need of Pro Bono help: Litigation: Trial/Direct Representation, Mentor volunteer lawyers or law students
  • Long distance opportunities: Conduct Research
  • Volunteers may participate long-distance: No
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Need help? Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).