What work do you do with the Commission?
I serve as a faculty expert with the Commission, specifically on representing survivors of domestic violence in protection order and family law matters.
What is your favorite part of teaching with the Commission?
Teaching with the Commission has challenged me to become a better litigator and lawyer, thinking critically about how I represent clients and train new attorneys. Having the opportunity to learn from fellow faculty and attendees is by far my favorite part of the experience - at each Institute, I learn more about the practice of law and issues faced by litigants in jurisdictions around the country.
What inspires you, professionally and personally?
Professionally, I have found that I am inspired by relationship - the relationships formed with clients, coworkers, and colleagues. In my legal practice, I am generally representing survivors who have experienced various forms of trauma, and it is through relationship that I am able to provide a small measure of support to my clients. Personally, I am inspired by art and the outdoors! As a family, we spent a lot of time outside, in forests, in the mountains, by the coast - and I am inspired and recharged by the natural beauty around us.
What are your areas of expertise or what areas are particularly interesting to you?
I have expertise in representing immigrant survivors of domestic violence. I have a particular interest in exploring alternatives to traditional, adversarial litigation to resolve family law disputes, particularly involving allegations of intimate partner violence. Currently, I am working with colleagues to develop a restorative or transformative justice program, that can help support survivors, their families, and provide an alternative to traditional litigation.
Who inspires you?
I am inspired by folks who use creativity, imagination, and hard work to achieve the impossible or difficult, whatever the discipline. Experiencing the achievements of those who are really passionate about their pursuits inspires me to continue to think not just about how I can represent clients and train attorneys, but also about the other ways I can contribute to imagining a future with less interpersonal violence.
What are you currently reading?
Currently I'm working my way through three books simultaneously: 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak; Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen; and Sexual Citizens by Jennifer Hirsch & Shamus Khan. I just finished Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, and was really moved by her portrayal of the experience of inter-generational trauma.
How does the Commission support the work of gender-based violence attorneys?
The Commission is instrumental in establishing a national community of gender-based violence attorneys, who support one another and share litigation strategy, local practice, and general trends. This is really critical to thinking about the evolution of our practice, and is a valuable service provided by the Commission.
Why should someone donate to the Commission?
The Commission helps supports attorneys throughout the country to provide high-quality legal representation, often to clients who could not otherwise afford to hire a lawyer. Ensuring access to justice for survivors requires funders not only to support organizations and the attorneys they hire, but also training and technical assistance support, so that legal services attorneys are continually refining and improving their craft. For many jurisdictions, this is also an issue of racial equity, where survivors of color have less access to the financial resources needed to otherwise afford a lawyer.