October 29, 2010 5:45 AM
Kathryn Hobgood Ray
Tania Tetlow, director of the Tulane Domestic Violence Clinic, was at the White House on Wednesday (Oct. 27), where she met President Obama and Vice President Biden as they commemorated Domestic Violence Awareness Month with the announcement of new initiatives to thwart domestic violence.
Among the initiatives announced was the launch of “Access to Justice for Domestic Violence Victims,” a pilot project designed to encourage pro bono work on behalf of domestic violence survivors. New Orleans and Baltimore have been chosen as the first two cities to conduct the program, which is being administered by the Department of Justice.
“Domestic violence survivors often find themselves without any access to lawyers to help them legally untangle themselves from violent relationships,” says Tetlow. “This program asks [law] firms to fund a stint for an incoming associate at legal aid, doing domestic violence work, using a law school clinic to help ensure that the experience provides meaningful litigation training that benefits the firm. Law firms are more likely to make the generous commitment of lending an associate to a legal services office if that young lawyer returns with valuable litigation skills.”
Tetlow was in DC with a small New Orleans contingent that included Mayor Mitch Landrieu, a representative of Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, and a member of local law firm Adams and Reese, which is participating in the pilot project.
“The Tulane Domestic Violence Clinic will help to make sure that the Adams and Reese associate arrives at Legal Services carefully trained in domestic violence law,” explains Tetlow. “We want the associate to make as big an impact as possible on behalf of domestic violence survivors, and to return to Adams and Reese with valuable and marketable lawyering skills.”
Tetlow said she was “beyond excited” to meet Obama and Biden. “Vice President Biden authored the Violence Against Women Law, so he is a particular hero of mine.”
Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 firstname.lastname@example.org