Legislation & Lobbying

ABA president: Bar groups should help federal courts promote pro bono for domestic violence victims

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Bob Carlson

ABA President Bob Carlson. Courtesy of ABA Media Relations.

Legislation that requires federal courts promote pro bono legal services to domestic violence victims was signed into law this week by President Donald Trump, Bloomberg Law Big Law Business reports.

The Pro bono Work to Empower and Represent Act of 2018, known as the POWER Act, mandates that federal courts annually hold events that partner with domestic violence support organizations. It’s modeled after Alaska’s Choose Respect Campaign. Dan Sullivan, a Republican U.S. senator from the state, co-sponsored the federal legislation.

Bob Carlson, president of the American Bar Association, applauded the new law in a Sept. 6 news release.

“An underlying goal of this law is to let victims know that legal assistance is available to them and empower them to move forward with their lives,” his statement reads. “The American Bar Association has long promoted access to justice for victims of domestic and sexual violence and urges every lawyer to provide legal services to those who have a limited ability to pay.”

Carlson. a partner with the Butte, Montana, law firm Corette Black Carlson & Mickelson, called on state and local bar associations to work with their federal court chief justices in facilitating implementation of the POWER Act.

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