Domestic Violence Project
SOJOURN LEGAL CLINIC
Background and Organization:
The Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles Domestic Violence Project (DV Project) is chaired by Jill Piano. The DV Project sponsors a weekly drop-in legal clinic each Monday from 6-7 p.m. in conjunction with Sojourn, a domestic violence service provider in Santa Monica.
At the legal clinic, clients, all of whom are referred by Sojourn, are provided with assistance on a variety of legal issues, including restraining orders, divorce/separation, child custody, child/spousal support, criminal proceedings as well as civil law issues. These clients represent every socio-economic and ethnic background, from executives at large entertainment industry corporations to recent immigrants who speak limited English. Some of these women are still with their batterer and being abused, while others have left their batterers and are seeking guidance on their legal rights and next steps.
The legal clinic is staffed entirely by volunteer attorneys who answer legal questions, explain the legal process, inform victims of their rights and make referrals as necessary. Through the legal clinic, attorneys provide legal advice, guidance and support to these women, and clients are welcome to return as often as necessary until their legal issues are resolved. Each client consultation with is brief, about 10-15 minutes depending on the number of clients waiting for assistance. The legal clinic does not provide representation of clients in court and does not provide legal forms to be completed. However, attorneys are available to review forms completed by clients and to prepare clients to testify and present their case in court. Repeat clients often work on reestablishing their lives and working towards other positive goals for themselves and/or their children.
Volunteers may help in two ways: 1) volunteering directly for the legal clinic itself; or 2) assisting the co-chairs in organizing with training materials, programs and meetings. We welcome all volunteer attorneys and law students regardless of background or training in domestic violence or family law issues.
For more information:
Please contact our chair Jill Piano at email@example.com.