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?

Impact

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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.

Training

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: Linda Strauss, Esq.  

Partners is thrilled to recognize one of our extraordinary pro bono attorneys – Linda Strauss, a solo practitioner who has volunteered for Partners since 2014. From a young age, Linda always dreamed of becoming an attorney. In fact, she graduated college early and immediately went on to attend New York Law School, and then clerked for Judge Gary Rothstadt, J.S.C. (Superior Court – Passaic County). After practicing for a larger firm for a few years, Linda moved to a small law office doing matrimonial and estate planning work. It was there that she learned about Partners from her colleague. She attended a domestic violence training run by Partners Director of Legal Programs, Michele Lefkowitz. The training increased her interest in family law and spurred her to quickly take on a Partners case. Since then Linda has tried seven final restraining order cases for Partners clients. In her own words, “Every client has their story and has the right to a restraining order so that they feel safe. It is rewarding to use my skills to help others find protection.” 

Linda can see first-hand the difference her volunteer work makes. During a recent representation, her client’s trial was to begin just as the COVID-19 pandemic was beginning. The trial moved to a virtual format and Linda was there to help her client navigate this new reality. The new format created challenges, as the client was not comfortable speaking over Zoom. Linda realized that there is a lack of personal touch and body language when someone is scared or nervous that does not translate through the virtual format. In order to minimize the negatives of the virtual format, Linda used her skills to ensure her client was as prepared as she possibly could be for the virtual trial. This preparation helped decrease her client’s nerves and allowed the client to articulate her story clearly to the court. Ultimately, the court granted a final restraining order. 

In her own practice, Linda handles a wide variety of matters including family law and estate planning and administration. She enjoys working in different areas of the law, as no two days are ever the same. When Linda decided to become a lawyer, she had no idea that her degree would allow her to give back to her community in such a meaningful way: “I am grateful that I found Partners and that I can use my law degree to help others find peace and safety.”

Partners thanks Linda for her time and commitment to advocating for domestic violence victims.