The Tulane Domestic Violence Clinic is a clinical legal-education program with an established record of providing holistic services to survivors of domestic violence and filling important gaps in the existing legal services in Orleans and Jefferson parishes. The Clinic helps clients who would otherwise have to seek out separate lawyers for each of their legal needs, accepting clients with varied legal issues, including highly contested custody disputes, public benefits, housing, crime victim compensation and unemployment claims. The Clinic’s approach is unique in the region and includes aggressively litigating economic issues that affect the safety and long-term financial stability of its clients.
It is a part of Tulane University Law School. Third-year law students enroll in the Clinic and represent clients as "student attorneys" while closely supervised by two experienced attorneys, Clinic Director Tania Tetlow and Deputy Director Becki Kondkar.
The Clinic provides leadership within the region for systematic change, including organizing strategic planning, preparing a kit to help pro se petitioners obtain protective orders, organizing and hosting training events for domestic violence service providers, and publicizing information about the widespread effects of domestic violence and how to address domestic violence.
Events and accomplishments
- The Clinic sponsored a speech by Former Attorney General Janet Reno, "Ending Violence Against Women."
- The Clinic hosted two mandatory trainings on prosecuting domestic violence cases for Assistant District Attorneys in Orleans Parish.
- The Clinic is a leader in training local professionals on domestic violence. Recent trainings include: a free CLE and CEU training which trained over 100 lawyers and social workers, an interdisciplinary class and keynote lecture with Dr. Evan Stark, national expert on domestic violence and author of Coercive Control, a training for first year medical students at Tulane University School of Medicine by Dr. Anne Flitcraft, a pioneer in medical analysis of domestic violence and co-author of the seminal book Women at Risk, trainings on the basics of prosecution and probation of domestic violence offenders, and a training at the Family Violence Prevention Fund conference on domestic violence and sexual assault in the wake of disasters,
- Clinic Director Tania Tetlow has advised domestic violence clinics in Rwanda, China, and Egypt.
- Becki Kondkar, Deputy Director of Tulane Law School's Domestic Violence Clinic, was awarded LSU’s “Esprit de Femme” award for “prestigious distinction” on March 29, 2010. Becki was recognized “for her exceptional efforts towards the advancement of women and for her commitment to enriching the lives of all.” Last year’s recipient was Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Kitty Kimball.
Clinic faculty and staff
Clinic Director Tania Tetlow joined the faculty of Tulane Law School in 2005 to direct the Domestic Violence Clinic and to teach Domestic Violence Law and International Women's Human Rights. In 2009, Tetlow received the University President's Award for Graduate and Professional Teaching, only the second law professor to win the award. Tetlow graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1995 and clerked for Judge Dennis on the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. After four years practicing commercial litigation at Phelps Dunbar law firm, Tetlow became an Assistant United States Attorney in New Orleans, focusing in violent crime and narcotics cases. Tetlow served as the Violence Against Women Act coordinator for the office and prosecuted federal domestic violence and stalking cases. She received the Victim and Witness Association award for Top Prosecutor of the Year, and never lost a trial. Tetlow's current scholarship focuses on jury discrimination against crime victims by race or gender. She published "Discriminatory Acquittal" in the October 2009 William and Mary Bill of Rights Journal and "Criminal Justice Collapse: the Constitution After Katrina" in the Duke Law Journal, co-authored with UVA Professor Brandon Garrett. Tetlow was on the cover of New Orleans Magazine in 2008 as a "Top Ten Woman" for her work in domestic violence policy and rebuilding New Orleans public libraries after Katrina. She serves on the Louisiana State Bar Association Board of Governors, on the Governor's Commission on Women and Policy, and as chair of the Louisiana State Library Board. She coordinates a University wide faculty workgroup on interdisciplinary approaches to gender-based violence.
Professor Becki Kondkar is the Deputy Director of the Tulane Law School Domestic Violence Clinic, where she trains law students who represent survivors of domestic violence in a variety of civil legal issues. She has litigated hundreds of domestic violence cases in trial and appellate courts in eleven states. She first represented battered women and children in custody, visitation, child support, and restraining order cases in a high-volume practice legal services practice. Later, she entered private practice and litigated nationally, specializing in complex child custody litigation in which victims of domestic violence or protecting parents had lost custody of their children to abusers. She is a national educator who has trained hundreds of attorneys, judges, domestic violence advocates, child welfare workers, and custody evaluators.
Clinic Fellow Kati Bambrick focuses on projects that help to organize the New Orleans community’s response to domestic violence, as well as assisting in the representation of clients. In 2009, Bambrick graduated from Tulane Law School, where she was a student attorney with the Tulane Law School Domestic Violence Clinic. After graduating summa cum laude from Tulane University in 2003, Bambrick did human rights field reporting in Sierra Leone, where she interviewed government, tribal and community leaders, and used this information to author the report “Silent Victims, Young Girls at Risk” on gender-based violence in post-civil-war Sierra Leone. This report was published by the UNDP-funded Sierra Leone Encyclopedia and has been cited by Amnesty International. After Hurricane Katrina, as a volunteer with the Student Hurricane Network, Bambrick coordinated responses to hundreds of volunteer inquiries to create relationships between prospective volunteers and non-profit organizations, and authored a newsletter that kept over 1,500 members informed about legal volunteer opportunities and Gulf Coast recovery. While in law school, Bambrick received an Equal Justice Works Katrina Summer Corps Education Award to work with New Orleans Legal Assistance Corporation in their domestic violence and family law division as a summer law clerk.
- See Editorial, Taking Batterers Seriously, New Orleans Times Picayune, February 28, 2009, http://www.nola.com/timespic/stories/index.ssf?/base/news-5/1235802179228280.xml&coll=1.
- See Faculty News, http://www.law.tulane.edu/tlsfaculty/news.aspx?id=13018&blogid=206
- See Protecting Women Step by Step, Tulane New Wave, March 3, 2010, http://tulane.edu/news/newwave/030310_domestic_violence.cfm.
- See Domestic Violence CLE, March 17, 2010, http://www.law.tulane.edu/uploadedFiles/Life_After_Law_School/CLE/Domestic%20Violence%20CLE.pdf.
- See eg. "Crime rooted in domestic violence: A guest column by Tania Tetlow," Times Picayune, April 19, 2010 http://www.nola.com/opinions/index.ssf/2010/04/crime_rooted_in_domestic_viole.html
- See, e.g., Laura Maggi, Orleans DA targets domestic violence Tulane scholars to aid prosecution, New Orleans Times Picayune (May 7, 2008)
- Janet Reno to discuss violence against women, New Wave, January 31, 2007 http://tulane.edu/news/newwave/013107_janet_reno_to_discuss_violence_against_women.cfm
- The Clinic hosted trainings on March 21, 2009 and March 20, 2010 http://www.law.tulane.edu/tlsNews/newsItem.aspx?id=9028 and
- Domestic Violence CLE, March 17, 2010, http://www.law.tulane.edu/uploadedFiles/Life_After_Law_School/CLE/Domestic%20Violence%20CLE.pdf
- See e.g. "Change comes to Rwanda," New Wave, September 11, 2009 http://tulane.edu/news/newwave/090909_rwanda.cfm?RenderForPrint=1
- Faculty News http://www.law.tulane.edu/tlsfaculty/news.aspx?blogmonth=4&blogyear=2010&blogid=206
- "Tetlow and Perdew win teaching honors," New Wave, May 19. 2009, http://tulane.edu/news/newwave/051909_teaching_awards.cfm
- "State Library Board Member Makes Top 10 Female Achiever List," Communique, August 2007, http://www.state.lib.la.us/empowerlibrary/Communique%20August%202007.pdf
- "LSU Concludes Women’s History Month with Celebrated Speaker and Awards Presentation," LSU Highlights, March 2010, http://www.lsu.edu/highlights/2010/03/history.shtml
- See eg. "A Multidisciplinary Custody Evaluation Institute for Judges/GALs/Attorneys & Court Staff to Examine Best Practices in Advocacy and Judicial Deliberations in Child Custody Issues," June 12, 2007, http://muskie.usm.maine.edu/dvcc/attachments/jga%20agenda.pdf
- See Peace Women http://www.peacewomen.org/portal_resources.php
- "A Summer in the Public Interest," New Wave, July 13, 2007 http://www2.tulane.edu/article_news_details.cfm?ArticleID=7458
- See United States Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey Visits New Orleans to Reaffirm Commitment by Justice Department and Announce New Funding, New Orleans Times Picayune, June 1, 2008