Pro Bono Program Ensures Safety for Victims of Violence
Squire Sanders & Dempsey Lead Special Partnership with Legal Aid
A unique partnership, forged between Legal Aid and Squire Sanders & Dempsey, has established a powerful program that helps victims of domestic violence. The Domestic Violence Prevention Program has enabled Legal Aid to serve more people in need. New cases increased from 207 in 2005 to 619 in 2011. This three-fold increase outpaced overall requests for service during the same period.
The program’s success is directly related to the commitment of Squire Sanders & Dempsey’s Cleveland office. The firm provides more than 400 pro bono hours each year, along with significant funding, to help sustain the Domestic Violence Prevention Program. Legal Aid trains volunteer attorneys, screens incoming matters through an intake process, and forwards qualifying cases to Squire Sanders & Dempsey for assignment to a pro bono attorney.
A recent domestic violence case handled by Squire Sanders attorney Chaundra Monday illustrates the success of this partnership. Ms. Monday spent 80 hours on a case and secured an ex parte Civil Protection Order for her Legal Aid client. The client, her children, her mother, and grandmother had suffered years of physical and emotional abuse by the client’s live-in boyfriend. He beat the client and her children repeatedly. He threatened and terrorized the client and her family. His violent actions were so severe that he was convicted and received a two-year jail sentence. Ms. Monday’s commitment and hard work allowed her client the protection and a sense of security that had been missing for years.
Reflecting on her involvement in this case, Chaundra Monday stated, “This experience impressed upon me that for some people abuse is an everyday occurrence in their relationships, and it is imperative that courts and those who advocate for victims do all they can to ensure the process of getting out and getting relief is as obstacle-free as possible.”