Ethical Issues in Representing Domestic Violence Survivors

(518 Ratings)

Produced on: March 06, 2017

Course Format On Demand Audio

Taught by


Course Description

Time 91 minutes
Difficulty Intermediate

Civil representation of domestic violence survivors plays a critical role in helping survivors navigate the many challenges they face. That representation also raises multiple ethical issues with which attorneys must grapple. These include competent knowledge of the law, competent knowledge of the dynamics of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking, culturally competent representation, effective communication, client safety, and defining the scope of representation. Attorneys must also be sensitive to the ways that the effects of trauma can manifest, and remain respectful of client autonomy and client capacity.

Julie Goldscheid, Professor of Law at CUNY Law School, and Lenina Trinidad, senior staff attorney at Manhattan Legal Services, address these issues through review of the applicable rules of professional responsibility, pertinent caselaw, and commentary. They also use hypothetical examples to explore challenging issues that arise in this kind of practice. 

Learning Objectives: 
  1. Identify the applicable rules of professional responsibility that inform challenges in working with domestic violence survivors

  2. Utilize tools for balancing tensions between client wishes and legal advice

  3. Understand tools for assessing client capacity for decision making

  4. Identify additional resources to access when engaged in representation


Julie Goldscheid


Julie Goldscheid is a Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law at CUNY School of Law, where she teaches subjects including civil procedure, lawyering, and courses on gender and law, and where she helped develop the Family Law Practice Clinic. Her scholarship focuses on gender equality, with a particular focus on gender-based violence and economic equality. Before joining the CUNY faculty, she held positions including senior staff attorney and acting legal director at Legal Momentum (formerly NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund), where her litigation and policy work included defending the constitutionality of the civil rights remedy of the 1994 Violence Against Women Act in courts nationwide, and before the U.S. Supreme Court in United States v. Morrison.

She was also general counsel at Safe Horizon, a leading victim services organization. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Stonewall Community Foundation and other NGO’s, and has been active in bar association committees and task forces. She has taught at Yale Law School, Columbia Law School, NYU School of Law, Penn State Law School and Brooklyn Law School. She received her law degree from NYU School of Law, a masters’ in social work from Hunter College School of Social Work, and her undergraduate degree from Cornell University.  

Lenina C. Trinidad

Manhattan Legal Services

As a senior staff attorney at Manhattan Legal Services, Inc, Lenina represents victims of domestic violence who reside in Manhattan, in Family and Supreme Court proceedings and domestic violence related immigration applications.

She has also served on several committees dedicated to examining domestic violence legislation and policy, improving the courts response to the needs of victims, and promoting awareness of domestic violence throughout the community at large, including the Lawyer’s committee on Domestic Violence, and the Manhattan Borough President’s Office Domestic Violence Task Force, and was also on the Advisory Board of the Appellate Representation Project.

Currently Lenina participates in the Upper Manhattan Domestic Violence Services Collaborative, and interdisciplinary group dedicated to providing comprehensive community based services to victims and survivors in Upper Manhattan. Lenina was also part of the planning committee for the VAWA@20 Conference held at CUNY School of Law. She is a graduate of The State University of New York at Buffalo, and The City University of New York School of Law.


Donald D.

great presentation and well organized

Ted S.

One of the best CLEs ever! Presenters were remarkably well-informed, articulate, and engaging. A lot of well-organized information and advice presented with style.

Laura c.

Excellent presentation.

Donald J. M.

Very comprehensive

Mattie A.

great course

Robin B.

for such a serious topic the presenters laughed a lot.

Gene T.

OK for general info but too distant from my field.

Lesley Renee A.

The program was excellent the instructors were relaxed and collegial making these difficulty issues easy to appreciate.

Sandra G.

Anyone who handles family law or domestic partner issues should hear this. Many good thoughts where we may fall short.

Jennifer L.

Great presentation!

Adrienne L.

Excellent course, very comprehensive, covers subject matter with depth and compassion

Marcia W.

They both were excellent!

Beatrice L.

Great breadth that's relevant too much of public interest representation. Wish there were more women-taught CLEs!

Caterina C.

very useful tips for handlilng a delicate topic

Maria H.

Very subjective subject with moderators who understood the complexity and provided good guidance.

Dana P.

Very informative.

Amy M.

that was the best i have ever seen

Julie A. B.

Covers the salient points.

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$ 89 Ethics and Family & Matrimonial Law In Stock


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