get to know the commission
In this section of the eNewsletter, we introduce you to a member of the ABA Commission on Domestic Violence to increase an understanding of the Commission, its members, and its work.
Jean Crowe is the Managing Attorney of the Family Law Section at the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, where she still represents victims of domestic violence in court proceedings—both adults and children. She established and manages the program at Legal Aid wherein victims of domestic violence work extensively with victim advocates to achieve goals which will ensure their safety and independence before the client is placed with an attorney to pursue a divorce. Jean also teaches and supervises law students who work with victims of domestic violence. She helped found and was the first Chair of her local domestic violence coalition and she is currently the board chair, and she is also the chair of her county Domestic Violence Death Review Team.
Jean has been a member of the ABA Commission on Domestic Violence since 2006, and has found working with the staff, members, and liaisons on the Commission to be a great experience: “interesting, challenging, gratifying and fun.” An active ABA member, Jean has served as liaison to the ABA Commission on the Renaissance of Idealism in the Profession and on the ABA Council for the Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division. Among other bar leadership positions, she is chair of the Pro Bono Awards Committee and past Chair of the Domestic Violence Committee of American Bar Association’s Family Law Section. She is also on the Board of Editors of the Family Law Quarterly. In Tennessee, she has served as the state chair of the Domestic Relations section for the Tennessee Bar Association and is a current and long-term member of the Domestic Relations Code Commission. She served on the original Tennessee Child Support Commission, the Child Support Advisory Task Force and on the DHS Enhanced Child Support Enforcement Committee.
With all of these responsibilities, what appealed to Jean about becoming a member of the Commission was the opportunity to work with concerned domestic violence professionals from around the entire country to brainstorm and learn what other programs and initiatives are successful, and which are not. As an active practitioner, Jean sees the lack of resources affecting victims: affordable legal help; affordable and adequate therapists for adults and children to provide emotional support and expert testimony; a victim-concerned criminal justice system to replace the current system with its many continuances and court appearances that debilitate a victims resolve and financial resources only to slap the perpetrator on the wrist.
As a Commission member, Jean is able to address some of these concerns by providing detailed input into the policies, training materials, and initiatives developed by the Commission. She is most proud of the recently-issued Standards of Practice for Lawyers Representing Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking in Civil Protection Order Cases as well as the work the Commission has done to support various piece of federal legislation, and wants readers to know how very accessible the staff is and how responsive to requests for information and technical assistance. She believes that being a Commissioner has challenged her to become a better advocate, and has inspired her to establish new programs, legislation, and initiatives that inure to the benefit of her clients, her legal aid program, and all victims of domestic violence in Tennessee.