Fostering Crime Victims’ Advocacy at Philadelphia Legal Assistance
I started at Philadelphia Legal Assistance in August of 2022, as part of the Drexel Civil Litigation Field Clinic (DCLFC). DCLFC is a school-year long clinic where I assisted clients in Family Law matters. It was during this experience that I saw firsthand the too common overlap between Family Law and Criminal Law. I graduated with Pro Bono Honors from Drexel University’s Kline School of Law in May of 2023 and returned to Philadelphia Legal Assistance in August of 2023 as an Equal Justice Works Fellow focused on Crime Victim Advocacy.
What do I do?
Since I joined PLA’s Family Law Unit, I have assisted dozens of clients navigate the criminal legal system and family law. My caseload consists primarily of survivors of domestic violence, who are the complainant in a criminal proceeding and have a concurrent Protection From Abuse (PFA) and/or Custody proceeding. In collaboration with the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, I have accompanied crime victims to court, advocated for additional safety measures, assisted in the assertion of victim-complainant’s privacy rights, as well as counseled clients on the overlap and separation of Criminal and Civil legal matters. In addition to criminal advocacy, I also provide full representation and advice to self-represented litigants in Family Law Matters ranging from PFA, Custody, Child Support, and Divorce, as needed.
Upcoming Crime Victims Advocacy Opportunity
As part of my Equal Justice Works Fellowship, there is also a gracious allocation of an additional $7,000 for a Summer Student Fellow. The fellowship will occur throughout the Summer of 2024 for 10 weeks. The student fellow will work alongside me on Criminal and Family Law matters. The student fellow will conduct intakes for potential full representation or pro se (self-represented) clients. The fellow will assist at least 20 self-represented clients with their family law cases by providing clients advice for hearings, drafting pleadings, and reaching out to third parties on their behalf. Furthermore, the fellow will engage in legal research, writing, and outreach relating to crime victim and family law hot topics.
If the fellow is eligible to practice as a certified legal intern in Pennsylvania, the fellow will have the opportunity to represent litigants during their family law proceedings.
All 1L’s and 2L’s can apply with the submission of a resume and statement of interest. The application is currently live through February 13, 2024.
Interested applicants can apply and find more information at: https://www.equaljusticeworks.org/opportunities/crime-victims-advocacy-program/
This program is supported by a subaward from Equal Justice Works as part of a Cooperative Agreement No. 15POVC-22-GK-01116-NONF, awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this blog post are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice or Equal Justice Works.