Description of the Fellowship

The Georgetown University Law Center’s Domestic Violence Clinic hires one person to serve as a clinical teaching fellow and supervising attorney each year, for a two-year term. Fellows have several areas of responsibility, including: representing victims of family abuse in CPO cases; designing and teaching Clinic seminar classes; and supervising third-year law students in their representation of clients. The fellowship experience is designed to develop fellows’ skills as clinical law professors and launch them on a career in clinical law teaching; all of our fellows who have sought teaching jobs over the past decade or more have successfully obtained a position. Throughout the program, fellows also receive extensive supervision and training on their litigation skills, providing them with a substantial opportunity to improve as public interest lawyers.

Clinic fellows also pursue a program of graduate study, through a seminar titled Introduction to Clinical Pedagogy, taught collectively by the Georgetown clinical faculty.  Fellows also may audit regular law school courses. Finally, during the first year, fellows also are members of the Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellowship Program, where they have an opportunity to collaborate with lawyers doing a variety of women’s rights legal work in Washington, D.C.

The Clinic prefers, but does not require, applications who have a background in family law, domestic violence, or poverty law and who have some trial practice experience. Fellows must have excellent oral and written advocacy skills, and must be admitted to a Bar prior to being offered a position in the program. Those fellows who are not members of the D.C. Bar must apply for admission by waiver upon accepting the fellowship offer.

Description of the Clinic

Students in the Domestic Violence Clinic represent victims of intimate abuse in civil protection order (“CPO”) cases in D.C. Superior Court. The Clinic provides students with an intensive, challenging education in the art of trial advocacy, extensive hands-on experience with family law and poverty lawyering, and the opportunity to alleviate a crucial community need for legal representation. Through course work and client representation, students are exposed to every phase of expedited civil litigation. Students also learn to navigate the criminal justice system by working, in cases where it is consistent with their client’s wishes, with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in prosecutions against those accused of abusing Clinic clients.

Students litigate to obtain Civil Protection Orders (“CPOs”) that last for up to one year and can include a broad spectrum of relief designed to effectively end the violence in a family or dating relationship. For example, in a CPO, a judge may direct a batterer to cease assaulting and threatening the victim; to stay away from the victim’s home, person and workplace; and not to contact the victim in any manner. The judge may award temporary custody of the parties’ minor children, with visitation rights for the non-custodial parent, and award child and/or spousal support, so that a victim is not forced to return to a batterer due to economic necessity. Finally, each semester students develop a group project focused on improving law, policy, or community education, that is designed to expose them to bigger picture ways to pursue social justice for their chosen client base.

To prepare students to appear in court, Clinic faculty provide intensive instruction in evidence, civil procedure, and legal ethics, as well as the civil, family, and criminal law applicable to domestic violence litigation. In the seminar class, students participate in exercises designed to develop and refine essential litigation skills such as conducting direct and cross examination, delivering opening statements and closing arguments, introducing exhibits into evidence, and conducting negotiations. In addition, students hear from expert guest speakers on topics such as the psychological dynamics of battering and victimization, immigration and domestic violence, and counseling programs designed for the perpetrator community.

Application Process

Please complete an application, and submit it both to the Domestic Violence Clinic, c/o Briana Hauser (dvclinic@law.georgetown.edu), and to the Women's Law and Public Policy Fellowship Program (wlppfp@law.georgetown.edu). Please be sure to indicate your interest in the Domestic Violence Clinic on your application. Applications must be submitted by Friday, November 4, 2016. Selected applicants will be contacted to schedule interviews in December or January, and selection will occur shortly thereafter. Start date is in early July 2017, and the fellowship lasts for two years, terminating in June 2019.