Why Volunteer?

Make a Difference! Volunteer to Change the Lives of Domestic Violence Victims and their Children

You Can Make a Difference in the Lives of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Victims

As a volunteer attorney for Partners, you will represent domestic violence victims seeking final restraining orders, safe visitation and custody arrangements, and child support. You may also have the opportunity to provide advice and counsel to empower self-represented victims. Partners will be by your side through every step of your case. Prior to taking your first case, you will participate in a complimentary CLE accredited training and receive a comprehensive manual. We offer mentorship from start to finish in each case. A staff attorney will personally provide support and guidance and second seat your first case. We empower volunteers to take the lead in case preparation, strategy, and client communication. Your representation will have a lasting impact on the life of a domestic violence victim. Join us and make a difference!

Pro Bono Attorneys:

  • Represent victims in Final Restraining Order Trials.
  • Represent victims in child custody and child support hearings and other applications for post judgment relief.
  • Provide legal advice to prepare self-represented victims.
  • Prepare and argue appeals and complex litigation.
  • Research and writing focused on policy and evidentiary issues.

Why Volunteer?


Sam Thomas headshot

Samuel Thomas
Thomas Kadian, LLC

“The pro bono program with Partners exposes our attorneys to a world they might not know and makes them better people and better lawyers.​”

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Irene Hurtado
McCarter & English, LLP

“If you are an attorney and you have the time and desire, take a case; you won’t regret it.”

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Emily Bordens
Bressler, Amery & Ross, P.C.

“When I provide pro bono legal services, I know I make a tangible difference in someone’s life, helping them navigate a complex process effectively and easing their legal stress.”

We are proud of our volunteers and we welcome new team members to join us in fighting for justice for domestic violence victims.


Partners provides one-on-one guidance, training assistance in developing legal strategies, and administrative support to all of our volunteer attorneys. Our training includes a complimentary CLE accredited 4 to 6 hour training by experts in Family Law and Domestic Violence designed in collaboration with the Rachel Coalition. Other training resources include:

  • A comprehensive training manual with applicable substantive and procedural law, as well as sample forms.
  • Second-seating by one of our staff attorneys for young associates and/or volunteers new to domestic violence representation.
  • Availability of our staff attorneys for consultation and trial preparation assistance.
  • A brief bank/memoranda of legal issues and sample motions.

Benefits to Volunteers

  • Associates gain experience litigating in court.
  • Associates handle all aspects of their case from start to finish.
  • Seasoned attorneys use their expertise to help victims and mentor associates.
  • Late career and recently retired attorneys can continue to practice law while making a difference in the lives of others.
  • Volunteers who donate 25 hours or more are eligible for an exemption for court mandated Madden assignments. Many volunteers completely satisfy their yearly pro bono obligations by providing representation in just one case while supporting a cause in which they believe.*
  • Malpractice Insurance – Volunteer attorneys are covered by Partners’ legal malpractice insurance up to $1,000,000.

Benefits to Firms

  • Volunteer service is a morale booster for attorneys in the firm.
  • Firms receive favorable publicity for doing pro bono work.
  • Involvement in pro bono work is a recruitment tool for new associates and summer associates.
  • Firms benefit from the litigation experience gained by their associates.
  • Firms can increase philanthropic work and give back to their communities through pro bono service.
  • Senior counsel can help to build their mid-size or larger firm’s pro bono program with the on-going support and mentorship of Partners.

*Partners is a New Jersey Supreme Court certified pro bono provider. Pursuant to New Jersey Court Rule 1:21-12, volunteer attorneys who complete 25 hours of pro bono service in the prior year to qualify to claim an exemption from court-mandated Madden pro bono assignments.

Pro Bono Profile: Kathleen Cavanaugh, Esq.   

Partners is excited to recognize one of our extraordinary pro bono attorneys – Kathleen Cavanaugh, a Partner at Parker Ibrahim & Berg.

Kathleen first learned about Partners in 2013 from her neighbor and Partners Trustee, Anne Mohan. Anne encouraged her to get involved with Partners as a pro bono attorney, noting how scary it can be for victims to go to court on their own. Kathleen quickly understood the need – “Court is a scary place. Attorneys get scared going to court. I try to imagine what being in that position is like – you finally take the steps to leave your abuser and seek protection and then realize you know nothing about the court process or your rights. On top of that, you likely have to face your abuser in court and they may have an attorney. I have empathy for that situation and am honored to help by providing legal assistance.” Since 2013, Kathleen has handled several cases for Partners and is currently representing a Partners client on an appeal.

Kathleen remembers one case in particular where her client, a woman with a young son, was in an on-again, off-again, long-term, abusive relationship. The last straw for the client was when her abuser physically assaulted her in front of their young son. She was badly injured and taken away in an ambulance while her son looked on. Kathleen recalls, “What finally gave her the courage to seek protection was her concern for her son’s well-being. He was distraught when she was taken by ambulance and she didn’t want him to grow up in an abusive home.” Thankfully, the Judge granted a final restraining order. In expressing her thanks to Kathleen, the client said she was amazed that an attorney would do this for her – would represent her without compensation. “She realized that she was a person worthy of getting protection, a person that other people cared about. Her realization only confirmed to me how important Partners’ work is – not only does Partners help victims secure protection – they also help victims realize that they are human beings who are entitled to dignity, respect, and safety.”

In her practice at Parker Ibrahim & Berg, Kathleen focuses primarily on commercial litigation representing lenders in the collection of commercial and personal debts. In addition to serving as a volunteer attorney for Partners, Kathleen also volunteers for the Rachel Coalition and KIND (Kids in Need of Defense).

Partners thanks Kathleen for her commitment to representing domestic violence victims and Parker Ibrahim & Berg for their support of Partners and of volunteers like Kathleen.