Lawyers for Family Justice Making a Difference for Survivors of Interpersonal Violence
The Contra Costa Family Justice Center is an invaluable one-stop center for families affected by domestic violence, sexual assault, elder abuse, child abuse, and human trafficking.
In 2017, the Family Justice Center served 2,440 survivors of interpersonal violence. Over 80% of Family Justice Center clients have at least one pressing legal need.
Legal assistance is the most highly sought-after service the Family Justice Center offers, however it is a challenge to find pro bono and low bono legal assistance for clients within Contra Costa County.
Thanks to the Contra Costa County Bar Association Fund, we established the “Lawyers for Family Justice” in 2016 with seven incubator attorneys. Recognizing the substantial need, Lawyers for Family Justice was created to fill the legal services gap for practice areas focusing on family, immigration and civil law. Currently, there are nine attorneys in the program that practice out of our Richmond and Concord offices.
Lawyers for Family Justice is for incubator attorneys new or transitioning into their own solo practice. Incubator attorneys engage an 18-month agreement to provide pro bono services to clients of the Family Justice Center in exchange for training and the incubation of their practice. Incubator attorneys are also available to represent clients on a low bono scale set by the Contra Costa County Bar Association’s Moderate Means Program. The Family Justice Center provides a work environment where the incubator attorneys gain experience in the practice of law and knowledge about how to manage a law practice while being mentored, supervised, and taught by experienced attorneys.
In 2017, the Lawyers for Family Justice provided legal services for 378 clients of the Family Justice Center. Some of the highlights of the 2017 program are:
- 31 Pro Bono cases (limited or full scope representation) including:
- 6 restraining order hearings
- 1 sexual assault civil suit
- 1 Ex Parte child custody order
- 1 Hague case
- 27 low bono cases (limited or full scope representation)
As part of the Lawyers for Family Justice program, we also offer multiple trainings for our incubator attorneys as well as attorneys from our partner agencies. Some of the trainings have included Interpersonal Violence 101, Working with Low Income Clients, a QDRO Workshop presented by Ann Fallon, Esq. and Property Division within Divorce presented by Brigeda Bank, Esq.
The Family Justice Center works in partnership with 40 on-site partner agencies to connect survivors of interpersonal violence to as many resources as possible within Contra Costa County. For more information about the Family Justice Center, the Lawyers for Family Justice or to apply to the program, please visit http://www.cocofamilyjustice.org/lawyers/.