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‘Gaining a Greater Understanding of Domestic Violence:’ CLE training available Friday, Oct. 5, at Worrell Professional Center

Wake Forest University School of Law, the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Legal Aid of North Carolina will collaborate on a six-hour Continuing Legal Education seminar, “Gaining a Greater Understanding of Domestic Violence,” for attorneys and law students on Friday, Oct. 5, in the WFU Worrell Professional Center.

The event, which will be from 9 a.m. until 4:45 p.m.,  is open to all attorneys and is free, except for the $3/credit hour fee imposed by the North Carolina State Bar, which is paid by the lawyer directly to the N.C. State Bar. The CLE will provide six hours of credit. Five hours will teach about domestic violence and the sixth hour will provide N.C. State Bar required training about Substance Abuse and Mental Health. Lunch is also included in the CLE and is graciously being provided by Comerford and Britt, LLP, a law firm in Winston-Salem.

The purpose of this training is to teach attorneys about domestic violence and to encourage each lawyer to provide pro bono representation to two domestic violence survivors a year, according to organizer Susan C. Taylor, Systems Advocacy Coordinator for the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

“The purpose of the CLE is to encourage pro bono involvement by the attorneys, and that while the CLE is free, we hope that each attorney who attends will agree to represent two individuals in obtaining a domestic violence protective order,” she said.

Executive Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Suzanne Reynolds  says this is one of the clearest ways that lawyers make a difference.  “When survivors have lawyers, they have the courage to leave their batterers,” she explained.  “If lawyers will represent two survivors a year, we can change lives – and in some cases, save them.”

In addition to Reynolds and Taylor, who is also a retired Superior Court Judge, speakers include University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Adjunct Professor Beth Posner; Jo Liles, director of the Roanoke Chowan Domestic Violence Offender Program; and representatives of N.C. State Bar Lawyer Assistance Program.

Attorneys who sign up with Legal Aid to give pro bono representation will be referred two cases per year; at the same time, if the lawyer agrees, a law student from Wake Forest will be referred with that attorney and will work with the attorney in case preparation. The attorney will have a law student to assist with some of the preliminary work in getting the case ready to be heard.

“Attorneys who agree to have a law student help them with the pro bono DVPO, that law student will be referred to assist with work on the DVPO,” Taylor said. “We hope this will be a help to both the attorney and the law student, as well as the domestic  violence survivor, and offer a good way for the attorneys to fulfill their opportunity to do some pro bono work as contemplated by the Lawyers’ Rules of Professional Responsibility.”

The seminar is being held at the same time as the District Court Judges’ Conference, so there might not be District Court in some counties that day, according to Taylor.

“Please encourage the attorneys in your county to attend this CLE,” Taylor said.

For more information, contact Taylor at 919.956.9124 or staylor@nccadv.org.