The Courtroom Advocates Project (CAP)
CAP trains and mentors summer associates and new law firm associates not yet admitted to the bar to advocate for pro se domestic violence victims when they first enter family court seeking orders of protection. CAP places advocates directly in the courthouse and supervises them while they:
– Interview petitioners
– Draft petitions
– Serve as advocates during the initial court appearance.
CAP participants receive a five-hour intensive training session and a thorough training manual before going to family court. When cases become contested, associates may assume representation of the client under our student practice order.
Family Law Project
The Family Law Project offers pro bono attorneys the opportunity to provide direct representation to survivors of gender violence in the following kinds of cases:
– Orders of protection
– Child custody and visitation
– Child abduction
– Child support
These cases provide excellent opportunities to gain courtroom experience and oral advocacy skills, and typically also require motion practice, negotiation with opposing counsel and attorneys for the child, and legal research and writing. Pro bono cases from the Family Law Project are ideal for litigation attorneys.
Matrimonial and Economic Justice Project (EJP)
EJP offers pro bono attorneys the opportunity to provide direct representation to survivors of gender violence in the following areas:
Divorce: Divorcing an abusive spouse can be one of the most liberating moments for a survivor of domestic violence. For many clients, divorce allows them to reclaim their pre-abuse identity and empowers them by severing any remaining ties to their abusers. In some cases, it also offers our clients a chance at obtaining much-needed economic relief through the distribution of marital assets and/or maintenance. Sanctuary offers pro bono opportunities for three different kinds of divorces:
– Contested divorces: Pro bono attorneys appear in Supreme Court on contested divorces. These cases provide excellent opportunities to gain courtroom experience and oral advocacy skills, and typically also require motion practice, negotiation with opposing counsel, and legal research and writing. Contested divorce cases are ideal for litigation attorneys.
– Uncontested divorces and publication divorces: These two types of divorces involve no contested issues and generally do not require court appearances. These cases are ideal for both litigation and transactional attorneys, as well as paralegals.
Public benefits and housing: Addressing our clients’ economic needs is a critical component of the services we offer. No matter what path our clients take in their efforts to leave their abusers, that path is made vastly more difficult if they and their children do not have resources to meet their basic needs—food, medical care, and safe and permanent housing. Pro bono attorneys can help secure clients’ economic and housing needs in the following ways:
– Public benefits: Pro bono attorneys represent clients who have been denied (or partially denied) public benefits. These attorneys advocate on behalf of their clients and, if advocacy fails, represent clients at Fair Hearings before an administrative law judge. These cases are ideal for both litigation and transactional attorneys.
– Housing: Pro bono attorneys represent clients in Housing Court with respect to several types of proceedings, including proceedings brought by the landlord (e.g., non-payment, holdover) and proceedings brought by Sanctuary clients (e.g., actions to correct violations of housing standards). These cases are ideal for litigation attorneys.
The Immigration Intervention Project (IIP)
IIP trains and mentors pro bono attorneys to provide immigrant survivors of gender violence with immigration-related legal services. Pro bono attorneys may represent survivors in the following types of cases:
– Special rule (VAWA) Cancellation of Removal Cases
– Petitions for Removal of Conditions on Residence
– Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Self-Petitions
– Petitions for U Nonimmigrant Status
– Petitions for T Nonimmigrant Status
– Petitions for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS)
– Applications for Naturalization (citizenship)
IIP pro bono cases are ideal for both litigation and transactional attorneys.
The Anti-Trafficking Initiative
The initiative offers pro bono attorneys the opportunity to assist survivors of human trafficking with their complex legal needs, including:
– Petitions for T Nonimmigrant Status
– Petitions for U nonimmigrant status
– Victim-Witness Cooperation advocacy
– Vacatur motions
– Legal consultation in the Human Trafficking Intervention Courts
Because the majority of clients in the Anti-Trafficking Initiative speak languages other than English, pro bono attorneys with language skills are particularly well-suited to assist with these opportunities. Learn more about Anti-Trafficking Initiative pro bono opportunities.