New ABA Guidebook Highlights Critical Need for Domestic Violence Curricula in Law Schools
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 21, 2004 – Law schools can play a critical role in ending domestic violence by training law students to represent domestic violence survivors and integrating such training into other areas of the law school curriculum. A new book published by the American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence will help law schools develop such programs. “Teach Your Students Well: Incorporating Domestic Violence into Law School Curricula – A Law School Report,” explains how issues of domestic violence reach beyond criminal and family law, affecting lawyers who practice in areas such as tort law, corporate law, property law, immigration law, tax law and others.
ABA Commission on Domestic Violence Chair Laura Stein called the book an essential tool for preparing lawyers of all practice areas to deal with the implications of domestic violence. “Domestic violence affects us all,” said Stein. “We need to train lawyers to help survivors get away from the abuse, and to integrate into society in a way that allows them opportunities to succeed.”
Stein notes victims of domestic violence often need help with civil law matters that arise from domestic abuse cases—including custody, landlord-tenant, public benefits, social security, tax and other issues—and that ABA policy encourages law students and law schools to promote awareness of domestic violence issues through law school activities and programs.
“By training all lawyers on domestic violence issues, we encourage them to recognize abuse as an underlying issue in legal cases,” said Deborah Goelman, a contributor to the report. “With properly trained lawyers, we can use legal protections to prioritize victim safety.”
The book explains that many law schools have paired with community organizations to provide assistance and that, in many areas, these law schools have been the sole providers of legal services for domestic violence survivors. But, while many law school clinics provide training for students in domestic violence law, few schools have incorporated these issues throughout their curricula.
From 1999-2002, the ABA Commission on Domestic Violence organized a series of regional conferences to share information about how domestic violence law could be integrated into law school curricula. Those conferences provided the impetus for the book, which includes information such as sample syllabi, suggested research material and bibliography information.
A copy of the publication may be downloaded by following links from the Commission’s main website: www.abanet.org/domviol/home.html. Questions about the publication may be directed to Robin Runge, director of ABA Commission on Domestic Violence, at 202/662-8637 or email@example.com.
In response to the pervasiveness of domestic violence and its impact on the legal profession, the American Bar Association formed the Commission on Domestic Violence in 1994. The Commission’s mission is to mobilize the legal profession to increase access to justice and safety for victims of domestic violence.
The American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership association in the world. With more than 400,000 members, the ABA provides law school accreditation, continuing legal education, information about the law, programs to assist lawyers and judges in their work, and initiatives to improve the legal system for the public.