“BEST PRACTICES” PRO BONO PROGRAM, CHARLOTTESVILLE-ALBEMARLE BAR ASSOCIATION – $25,000
The Charlottesville-Albemarle Bar Association (CABA) is in the process of implementing a “Best Practices” Pro Bono Program in an effort to improve the pro bono efforts of its members. Virginia Law Foundation funding will enable CABA to research, test, and ultimately disseminate best practices for attorney recruitment, design of intake and vetting systems, and dissemination and monitoring of pro bono cases. The goal is to increase the number of indigent clients served by and attorneys participating in the CABA pro bono program every year over a three-year period and, at the end of that period, have a program that is able to sustain itself. While this program serves Charlottesville, Albemarle and surrounding counties, materials developed will be made available throughout the Commonwealth. Funding this project will allow the Foundation to be a partner in a tested, “turn-key” organizational and management plan for midsize bar associations to create and run the most effective pro bono program.
CAPITAL DEFENSE WORKSHOP, VIRGINIA BAR ASSOCIATION – $30,000
Administered by the Virginia Bar Association, the Capital Defense Workshop is the only educational program that covers training requirements for Virginia lawyers representing defendants charged with capital murder. Each year, up to 250 lawyers receive the training to help them meet standards set by the Virginia Supreme Court and the Virginia Indigent Defense Commission for the defense of capital cases in Virginia. The goals of this workshop are to maintain and increase the current level of qualified lawyers certified to accept capital cases, provide attendees additional insight regarding national developments in death penalty litigation, and enhance participants’ overall level of skills and productivity as representatives of capital defendants. VLF’s financial support allows the workshop to be presented with only a nominal charge to registrants.
HILL TUCKER PRE-LAW INSTITUTE, VIRGINIA STATE BAR – $15,000
Named for legendary civil rights attorneys Oliver Hill and Samuel Tucker, the Hill Tucker Pre-Law Institute is presented by the Virginia State Bar Diversity Conference and Young Lawyers Conference. It seeks to increase diversity in the legal profession by reaching future lawyers at an early age. For one week each June, high school students from all over Virginia are introduced to the legal profession while living on a college campus. Participants attend mock classes and seminars on career opportunities in the law, learn test-taking strategies, and are exposed to the college admissions process. The Institute culminates in a mock trial and graduation banquet, where a prominent member of the bar is the featured speaker. The VLF sponsors this annual program, which is offered at no cost to attendees.
IMMIGRATION LEGAL SERVICES PROGRAM, NORTHERN VIRGINIA FAMILY SERVICE – $25,000
Established in 1924, Northern Virginia Family Service (NVFS) empowers individuals and families to improve their quality of life and promotes community cooperation and support in responding to family needs. Immigration Legal Services (ILS) is one of their eight core service areas that provide a wrap-around approach to uncovering and eliminating barriers to independence for individuals and families in Northern Virginia. ILS provides multi-lingual, family-based, and humanitarian immigration legal assistance to refugees, survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, and other vulnerable immigration populations. Virginia Law Foundation funds will aid in providing services to upwards of 1,700 clients per year, providing legal consultations, supporting them in obtaining or maintaining lawful immigration status, and providing assistance with reunification to improve family stability and well-being and to help individuals and families establish the foundation on which to build a new life in the United States.
JAZZ4JUSTICE – $3,000
Jazz4Justice™ partners local bar associations with university or community college music programs to raise funds for legal aid services, pro bono law programs, and music scholarships. The school plans a jazz concert showcasing students, professors, and other local talent, while the local bar association finds sponsors and assists with marketing and ticket sales. The proceeds are split evenly. In addition to maintaining and growing Jazz4Justice concerts across universities in the Commonwealth, funds from the Virginia Law Foundation grant will help expand the newly designed website to include an educational component about the Rule of Law and access to justice.
JUSTICE IN THE CLASSROOM PROGRAM, JOHN MARSHALL FOUNDATION – $25,000
Bringing the history and importance of the Rule of Law in America to the students of today is a difficult task. The John Marshall Foundation’s Justice in the Classroom (JIC) Program brings federal and state judges into public school classrooms for presentations and discussions with students about the constitutional foundation of our nation, our three co-equal branches of government, the Rule of Law, and the role of the judiciary in preserving the rights and liberties of all citizens. 2019 VLF funds will support three areas. First, workshops for teachers in four new challenged school districts will improve knowledge in social studies, history, civics, and government with the goal of creating an informed and responsible electorate. Second, the JIC Program will continue to transform so it takes advantage of the ever-increasing use of technology in Virginia schools. And third, the JIC website will continually update with additional lesson plans, resources, and activities for teachers.
MEDICAL-LEGAL PARTNERSHIP—RICHMOND, MEDICAL COLLEGE OF VIRGINIA FOUNDATION – $25,000
Medical-Legal Partnership (MLP)-Richmond is an innovative community partnership between VCU Health System, CancerLINC, Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, the Legal Aid Justice Center, and volunteer attorneys. It is one of more than 300 medical‐legal partnerships in the country, and the only one serving the greater Richmond area. MLP-Richmond was created to improve health outcomes for low‐income patients by embedding lawyers in the healthcare clinic to address social determinants of health that are rooted in legal problems. Funds from the Virginia Law Foundation will contribute to improving the provider referral process and screening for patients at Massey Cancer Center and the Children’s Hospital of Richmond. The grant will also enhance research on the impact of legal intervention on health outcomes for patients. Additionally, the MCV Foundation will conduct a feasibility study to determine the location and scope of expanding MLP-Richmond to a third clinic location.
PUBLIC SERVICE INTERNSHIP PROGRAM, THE OLIVER WHITE HILL FOUNDATION – $46,179
The Oliver White Hill Foundation fosters educational opportunities for young people interested in social justice. The Public Service Internship Program will award stipends/scholarships to outstanding law students who have chosen to work unpaid internships that have a goal or focus of public interest in Virginia. The Public Service Internship Program hopes to attract top law students to serve as interns in public interest and social justice related organizations that would not have otherwise been able to afford a law intern or law clerk. Special consideration will be given to law students who find internships in underserved communities in Virginia.
RULE OF LAW DAY, VIRGINIA HOLOCAUST MUSEUM – $6,700
The Virginia Holocaust Museum (VHM), through its exhibits, archival collections, educational programming, and outreach, explores the history of the Holocaust and other genocides to educate and inspire future generations of Virginians to fight prejudice and indifference. The VHM and the Nuremberg Courtroom Committee jointly hold an annual “Rule of Law Day” award program which recognizes and honors individuals whose work, lives, and careers reflect the principles that were established during the Nuremberg Military Tribunal and later at the International Court of Justice. VLF grant monies supported the Rule of Law Day program, dinner, and CLE program. At this year’s ceremony, attorney and best-selling author John Grisham received the Rule of Law Award and past president of the Virginia State Bar and the Virginia Law Foundation David P. Bobzien was posthumously given the Civility in Law Award.
RULE OF LAW PROJECT, CENTER FOR TEACHING THE RULE OF LAW – $25,000
The Center for Teaching the Rule of Law seeks to fundamentally change the way the Rule of Law is taught in America’s schools. In addition to being a web-based resource on a global scale, it is a community-level educational program that pairs members of local bar associations with teachers to collaborate in educating students about the preeminent role of the Rule of Law as the foundation for freedom, justice, equality, fairness, and stability in civil societies based on democratic principles. VLF grant monies for 2019 will support the expansion of the Center’s staff, including the creation of Regional Bar Association Coordinators and State Directors of Regional Coordinators, and the development of new curricular resources to meet the VDOE changes to the social studies curriculum. The Virginia Law Foundation will also sponsor a pilot program “The Rule of Law Teachers’ Institute” to offer an intense learning experience for teachers at all levels of public and private education with the opportunity to learn from the scholars and expand their academic appreciation and understanding of the Rule of Law.
RURAL IMMIGRATION LEGAL SERVICES PROGRAM, JUST NEIGHBORS – $40,000
After 23 years of offering legal services in Northern Virginia, Just Neighbors will expand into four targeted rural areas in Virginia that are geographically isolated and sorely underserved by legal services providers. Many immigrants in these areas are not aware that they have a pathway to permanent legal status or citizenship, which can only be achieved with competent legal representation. Within these communities are also victims of domestic violence, human or labor trafficking, or violent crimes, as well as children who have been witnesses to these crimes or victims themselves. A Virginia Law Foundation 2019 grant will help fund this Rural Immigration Legal Services Program, which will provide direct legal representation to this underserved population, as well as facilitate collaboration, education, and volunteer opportunities.
SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA TRAINING INITIATIVE, SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA LEGAL AID SOCIETY – $15,000
It is the mission of the Southwest Virginia Legal Aid Society (SVLAS) to champion equal justice for low-income Virginians. To this end, it has been providing free civil legal services to low-income families in seventeen counties and four small cities in Southwest Virginia for more than four decades. VLF funds will help SVLAS present three day-long training conferences, including an expanded elder abuse conference and the annual domestic violence conference, which will be offered twice in October. Each will provide low-cost, high-quality, interdisciplinary training for attorneys, prosecutors, magistrates, judges, clerks, court unit staff, law enforcement, and others. They will also better prepare private attorneys participating in Legal Aid’s Private Attorney Involvement (PAI) Program to provide pro bono services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and elder abuse.
STATEWIDE LEGAL AID CONFERENCE, VIRGINIA POVERTY LAW CENTER – $25,000
For over three decades, the Virginia Poverty Law Center (VPLC) has been providing leadership, support, training, public education, and advocacy to address the civil legal needs of Virginia’s low-income population. VLF grant money will help to fund VPLC’s annual Statewide Legal Aid Conference, which educates legal aid attorneys and staff on those issues that most affect low-income Virginians. The three-day conference includes nearly fifty training sessions on health, family, housing, and other areas of civil poverty law. It also provides attorneys with the opportunity to earn their required CLE credits at little or no cost and provides a meeting ground for legal aid attorneys and staff to discuss the latest developments in the valuable work they do.
VICTIM SERVICES PROJECT, LEGAL AID SOCIETY OF ROANOKE VALLEY – $30,000
This Virginia Law Foundation 2019 grant will contribute funds toward the required 20% match of the Virginia Department of Justice Victims of Crime Act grant awarded to The Legal Aid Society of Roanoke Valley to expand its Victim Services Project. This match will allow our funds to go seven times further. Operating since 2000, the Victim Services Project serves a five-county area and focuses on those affected by domestic abuse, sexual assault, stalking, and a variety of family law cases. At a minimum, the Project expects to provide services to 325 unique clients and their families and to present, participate, and facilitate events that will draw at least 100 attendees. Additionally, the project works with area organizations to collaborate on providing comprehensive services to low-income Virginians.
VIRGINIA BEACH JUSTICE INITIATIVE – $42,000
The Virginia Beach Justice Initiative was founded to initiate and facilitate justice for those who have been victimized by human trafficking and to bring justice to those who are perpetrators. It aims to end human trafficking in the Hampton Roads area and throughout the Commonwealth by partnering with individuals and other organizations to prevent it, and barring that, to build a comprehensive system to identify, rescue, restore, and reintegrate those impacted by it. To aid in this mission, VLF monies will support a full-time Advocacy Case Manager who coordinates screening and support services. Additionally, the grant will fund victim identification and assistance training for public defenders, criminal defense attorneys, and local bar associations throughout Hampton Roads.
VIRGINIA JUDGES AND LAWYERS ASSISTANCE PROGRAM – $20,000
Since 1985, the Virginia Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program (formerly Virginia Lawyers Helping Lawyers) has provided confidential, non-disciplinary support to lawyers, judges, law students and legal professionals who are experiencing impairment as a result of substance abuse or mental health conditions. Assistance is designed to promote recovery, protect the client, prevent disciplinary problems for the lawyer, support their families and professional associates, and strengthen the profession. 2019 grant money from the Virginia Law Foundation will allow the organization to expand its annual two-day retreat/conference to a multi-day event that will include CLE credit hours related to impairment and well-being issues, as well as ample opportunity for reflection, fellowship, and support. It is expected that the typical 100-person audience will grow to 150-200 attendees.
VIRGINIA JUSTICE PROGRAM, CAPITAL AREA IMMIGRANTS’ RIGHTS COALITION – $40,000
Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition strives to ensure equal justice for all immigrant men, women, and children at risk of detention and deportation. CAIR Coalition’s Virginia Justice Program ensures that public defenders and court-appointed counsel in Virginia are educated regarding the immigration consequences of crimes, thereby greatly increasing the likelihood that an indigent noncitizen in Virginia will have access to a defense counsel competent to advise them about the potential adverse immigration consequences of their case. In addition to sponsoring CAIR Coalition’s weekly technical assistance to the Virginia Indigent Defense Commission, 2019 funds from the Virginia Law Foundation will support individualized consultations, trainings, resource creation, and essential outreach efforts to connect with court-appointed attorneys across Virginia.
VIRGINIA SEXUAL & DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ACTION ALLIANCE – $25,000
The Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Action Alliance is Virginia’s leading voice on sexual and intimate partner violence. It is an advocacy organization and a service provider, building diverse alliances across the state. In late 2017, it launched the Project for the Empowerment of Survivors (PES), offered through its Statewide Hotline, providing survivors of violence an opportunity to find answers to legal questions and to carefully weigh legal options, via phone and chat, and to be linked with both legal advocacy and legal services in their communities. Funds from the Virginia Law Foundation will help fund the PES, which expects to provide over 1,750 trauma-informed phone and chat-based consultations for survivors seeking legal information and advice, many of whom do not qualify for Legal Aid, but for whom paying for legal services would present an insurmountable obstacle.
VLF PUBLIC SERVICE INTERNSHIPS – $50,000
Supported by the Virginia Law Foundation since 1989, public service internships for first- and second-year law students help bring to light the importance of public interest and pro bono work. Each of Virginia’s eight American Bar Association-accredited law schools receives funding for public service internships during the summer. The students work under the supervision of an attorney. The work they complete varies widely, depending on the missions and caseloads of their host organizations. Some students gain experience working on individual client matters and others work on larger projects in an organization’s service area.