The State Bar of Michigan Justice Initiatives Division and the Michigan Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence are partnering to sponsor a free statewide training seminar on Thursday, August 25, 2005 for all attorneys interested in offering probono representation to domestic violence victims. The goal of the project is to increase the availability of legal services to victims of domestic violence in civil legal matters.
This is the third training that has been sponsored by the partnership, and the program won national recognition as the recipient of the 2003 LexisNexis Community and Educational Outreach Award.
Interested lawyers will be trained through a combination of a live video presentation, as well as on-site discussions with area judges and attorneys, who will talk about local practice and procedure. The live video presentation will be telecast in the morning at six locations–Grand Valley State University, Michigan State University, Oakland Community College, Saginaw Valley State University, Wayne State University, and University Center in Gaylord.
Attendees will have the opportunity to find out more about the following: obtaining, modifying and enforcing personal protection orders; divorce, annulment and separate maintenance; spousal and child support; and employment issue and related torts. They will receive a free CD-ROM, along with a comprehensive manual that includes benchmark book selections. In exchange for the training, the attorneys must agree to provide at least 30 hours or three cases of pro bono representation to domestic violence victims within a year.
Nancy J. Diehl, President of the State Bar of Michigan said, "The Pro Bono Project for Domestic Violence Victims will complement the service and training programs of nonprofit advocacy organizations, government agencies, legal aid, and law schools. In countless Michigan communities, attorneys in private practice are sorely needed to fill the gap between the capacity of these programs and the growing demand for services."