January 2013 • Vol. 33 No. 1 | An E-Publication of the Los Angeles County Bar Association

LACBA’s Domestic Violence Project Establishes Referral Agreement with Shriver Project

The Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Domestic Violence Project and the Los Angeles Center for Law & Justice’s Shriver Family Law Project (the Shriver Project) have established a new referral program at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles to provide low-income victims of domestic violence with access to pro bono attorneys.

Under the terms of the new program, more than 200 victims per year who come to the Domestic Violence Project for temporary restraining orders may be referred to the Shriver Project to provide them with pro bono attorneys to help them obtain permanent restraining orders and resolve their child custody matters.

“This new referral agreement is a great example of two dynamic projects coming together to provide different but related services to help victims of domestic violence,” said Deborah Kelly, directing attorney of LACBA’s Domestic Violence Project. “The Domestic Violence Project will serve as one of the gatekeepers for incoming cases that can be referred to the Shriver Project for further assistance. This is truly a win-win partnership for the Los Angeles Superior Court, LACBA’s Domestic Violence Project, the Shriver Project, and most importantly, the people who come to us for help.”

To qualify for the referral program, the victims of domestic violence need to meet the following criteria: 1) be a low-income litigant, 2) have children in common for whom custody and/or visitation orders are requested, and 3) at least one of the following must apply: the litigant has significant barrier(s) to self-representation, a high lethality case, and/or a case involving special-needs children.

Los Angeles Center for Law & Justice’s Shriver Project is one of seven pilot projects the Judicial Council selected to provide legal representation to low-income Californians. Each of the projects target cases involving critical legal issues that affect basic human needs, such as housing, custody, conservatorship, and guardianship. In these disputes, low-income litigants are normally without representation. Each project is in partnership with a lead legal services nonprofit corporation, the court, and other legal services providers in the community.

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