To kick off its new effort to connect trained pro bono young lawyers with victims of domestic violence who are unable to obtain other civil legal assistance, the Lawyers Against Domestic Violence Committee hosted a Domestic Violence Basics CLE on April 11, 2013 at the Belo Mansion, sponsored by Jackson Walker LLP and Winstead PC.

Local domestic violence experts Hon. Roberto Cañas of County Criminal Court 10, Carla Bean of the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office Protective Orders Division, and Ona Foster of the Vera Institute of Justice offered comprehensive overviews and practice tips on topics such as client safety planning, post-separation custody and visitation issues, protective order basics, trying cases involving domestic violence, and the criminal justice system’s treatment of cases alleging domestic violence. Over 30 young lawyers attended and received this valuable information, many of whom agreed to take on pro bono cases in the near future dealing with such issues.

The Committee’s new initiative is a collaboration with the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program and CitySquare’s Legal Action Works. The Committee works with DVAP and community advocates for victims of domestic violence to provide family law and domestic violence training to interested volunteer attorneys free of charge. After completing training, volunteer attorneys are matched with prospective clients who have sought legal help from Legal Action Works but are unable to access other forms of free civil legal assistance and an experienced Legal Action Works mentor attorney. For more information or to volunteer to help a victim of domestic violence protect her physical safety and legal rights, contact Committee co-chair Brad Nitschke.