PBA and Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence Hold Joint CLE Seminar

On April 21, fifty government lawyers in the greater Harrisburg area participated in a six-hour CLE program jointly presented by the PBA Government Lawyers Committee, the PBA Pro Bono Office and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV).

"Tools and Tips for Pro Bono Attorneys: the PFA Case " covered topics such as understanding domestic violence; the PFA Act; central Pennsylvania PFA practice and procedures; dealing with practical issues in the representation of a client; dealing with pro se opponents; and negotiation tactics.

Office of Inspector General Chief Counsel Steve Turner and PCADV Managing Attorney Ellen Kramer Adler coordinated the project in cooperation with PBA Pro Bono Coordinator David Trevaskis. Assisting in the presentation were representatives from the YWCA of Greater Harrisburg's Domestic Violence Legal Clinic and the Dauphin County District Attorney's Office.

The attorneys attending the program agreed to take at least one PFA case on a pro bono basis within the next 12 months, an important mobilization of resources for this vital area of need.

"I was so excited to see participants from the training in observing cases the next week," Turner noted in reflecting on the training. "This will help make a difference for a lot of families in need."

General Counsel to the Governor Barbara Adams and Attorney General Tom Corbett jointly authored a letter highlighting the seriousness of domestic violence as a societal problem and invited their attorneys to attend the seminar. As a result, there was a waiting list of more than two dozen attorneys for the workshop. Turner and the other organizers expect additional workshops to be held.

The model effort of the Government Lawyers Committee has already had one additional result - a condensed version of the program will be featured at the Oct. 19 Northeastern Pro Bono Conference in Scranton.