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The Courtroom Advocates Project (CAP) is a unique

program that trains law students to advocate for
victims of domestic violence who seek Orders of
Protection against their abusers in family court.
Fordham's DVAC is one of ten New York City law
schools that comprise the CAP consortium with six
legal service agencies.
Victims of domestic violence and law school
students benefit greatly from the CAP program.
Victims are usually frightened and unaware of their
legal rights and the remedies available to them upon
entering court. CAP students provide support and
education to domestic violence victims and assist
them in an otherwise intimidating arena.
Student advocates staff a Petitioners Assistance
Table, where they interview domestic violence
victims and help them draft their petitions. The
students then accompany and advocate for the
petitioners when they appear before family court
judges. The student advocates also accompany
petitioners to court on their adjourn dates and assist
them with their cases as they move forward.
Additionally, the students provide victims with
safety planning and referrals to community
resources such as shelters and counseling.
The Domestic Violence Advocacy Project (DVAP)
works in various ways to help women who are the
victims of domestic violence. The Domestic Violence
Advocacy Project operates two public service
programs for students, supervised by Sanctuary for
Families, a New York organization that assists
battered women.
Through the Courtroom Advocates Program (CAP),
law students assist women at Family Court in getting
orders of protection from their batterers. For
example, student advocates help the women draft
their complaints, answer any questions, and assist
the women when they appear before the judge.
In the Uncontested Divorce Project, students are
trained to assist women in obtaining a divorce from
their batterer.

Prior to participating in these programs, law

students participate in a full day of training run by
Sanctuary for Families. DVAP also brings in speakers
throughout the year and sponsors events for
This year, DVAP is organizing a performance of The
Vagina Monologues for the law school. The
performance dates are February 13-15, 2013. For
visit http://vdaynyugradwomen.blogspot.com/
This year one of the beneficiaries from the proceeds
of The Vagina Monologues is One Billion Rising.
Please click hereto view an incredibly powerful short
film and here for the amazing "Break the Chain"

The Family and Domestic Violence Law Unit of

the Legal Services Center focuses on offering
clients legal assistance on divorce, domestic
violence, paternity, child and spousal support,
adoption, and guardianship. The clinics of the
Family Unit are:
The Family Law Clinic addresses issues of
custody, visitation, child and spousal support,
health and life insurance, and the equitable
division of marital property and debt in the
context of divorce, paternity, modification,
contempt, guardianship, and adoption actions.
The Clinic also provides a broad range of direct
legal services to the LGBT community, with a
particular emphasis on family-related legal
issues (custody, support and visitation, and
second-parent adoptions) and estate planning
(wills, powers of attorneys, partnership
agreements) to ensure that same-sex partners
and families are legally protected.

The Domestic Violence Clinic focuses on abuse

Clinic students have full responsibility for their cases

prevention, safety, and making sure that

and receive a challenging education in the art of trial

domestic violence is not a barrier to a client's

advocacy under the intensive supervision of Clinic

legal rights regarding custody, property

faculty. Through course work and client

division, and other aspects of family and

representation, students learn to excel in every phase

domestic relations.

of expedited civil litigation, including pretrial skills

(counseling, interviewing, investigation, and

Students have the opportunity to:

Conduct factual and legal research
Interview clients
Draft complaints and other legal documents
Draft and respond to discovery requests
Negotiate with opposing parties and counsel
Argue motions and represent clients in district

court and family and probate court

Develop and present trainings and workshops

These clinics are part of the Legal Services Center

(LSC), a general practice community law office in
Jamaica Plain. LSC's diverse clinics provide clinical
instruction to second- and third-year law students
and serve as a laboratory for the innovative delivery
of legal services. Students are taught and mentored
under the supervision and guidance of clinical
instructors and fellows in one of LSC's litigation
clinical practices.


Students in the Domestic Violence Clinic represent
victims of intimate abuse in civil protection order
(CPO) cases. Protection orders typically include a
broad spectrum of relief, designed to effectively end
the violence in a family or dating relationship. A
CPO may direct a batterer to stop assaulting and
threatening the victim, to stay away from the victim,
her home, and her workplace, and not to contact her
in any manner. The CPO also may include an award
of temporary custody of the parties' children, with
visitation rights for the non-custodial parent, as well
as an award of child support.

negotiation) and trial skills (opening statement,

witness direct and cross examination, closing
arguments). Clinic participants become intimately
familiar with both the extensive family and criminal
law provisions applicable to their cases, as well as
civil procedure and legal ethics. Students gain
expertise in the law of evidence, typically handling
exhibits including photographs, tape recordings,
weapons, police reports, and medical records. In
addition, students learn to navigate the criminal
justice system by working closely with the U.S.
Attorney's Office in prosecutions against their
clients' abusive partners.
Every student represents 3-4 clients in CPO cases.
Although it is impossible to predict whether any
particular case will settle or go to trial, every single
Clinic student will have an opportunity to question
one or more witness in an initial Temporary
Protection Order hearing; and every student will
have multiple opportunities to negotiate a settlement
or go to trial.
Clinic students learn to:
Provide highly effective client representation;
Become creative, independent thinkers; and
Increase the effectiveness of civil and criminal justice
system interventions in domestic
violence situations.
The DVC's mission:
Provide law students with an intensive, challenging
education in the art of trial advocacy; and

Provide high quality representation to indigent

victims of domestic abuse.