Volunteer Opportunities for Attorneys

Ascend Justice offers several ways for attorneys to volunteer their time and expertise to help survivors of gender-based violence.  Opportunities range from discrete limited brief services to full representation litigation opportunities.  Please check back regularly as our opportunities often change.

Emergency Services – Remote Order of Protection Hotline
Our Emergency Order of Protection Clinic is an opportunity for groups of volunteers to work directly with survivors of gender-based violence at the Domestic Violence Courthouse in Chicago. Volunteers interview clients and prepare and submit the petition for an Emergency Order of Protection, which includes the client’s affidavit, and other necessary court forms.

Volunteers may be attorneys, paralegals, or other legal professionals. Training is available on demand via the Ascend Justice website and is eligible for CLE credit for Illinois attorneys. Clinic shifts are scheduled 9AM-4PM Monday-Friday. Groups can be anywhere from 2-6 volunteers. To schedule a clinic day for your organizations, please contact our Director of Pro Bono Services, Kimberly Washington (volunteerservices@ascendjustice.org).
EOP Hotline FAQs

Family Defense – Full Representation
Ascend Justice provides training and ongoing case supervision for attorneys on how to represent wrongly-accused parents and child care professionals in appeals of abuse or neglect “indicated” findings in the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services’ Administrative Hearings Unit. These hearings are the first opportunity an individual is given to have a DCFS investigator’s decision to “indicate” an allegation reviewed by a neutral decision-maker (an Administrative Law Judge). These cases often involve interesting and important due process issues and provide an opportunity to gain valuable litigation experience while assisting families who need legal representation. Training is provided and no prior experience is necessary.
Incarcerated Survivors Program
Ascend Justice is now placing clemency cases with interested and experienced firms!
Other Practice Areas
We occasionally have litigation pro bono opportunities in our order of protection, incarcerated survivors, family law and economic justice programs. If you have experience in or would like to help out with either of those areas, please contact our Director of Pro Bono Services.

Work with us as an Intern!

Ascend Justice internships are available in all of our divisions.  Interns must work a minimum of 12 hours during the school year and full time during the summer.  Specific intern duties and schedule vary depending on the program but they generally include interviewing and communicating with clients; performing legal research on related issues; drafting pleadings, motions, subpoenas, and client communications; working directly with attorneys in preparing for contested hearings; and other duties as assigned.  Internships are unpaid or eligible for externship credit or federal work study.

Economic Justice Project – Economic Justice Project Interns assist survivors of domestic violence with employment law issues under the Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA), housing law issues under the Illinois Safe Homes Act, Crime Victims Compensation, and consumer debt issues.

Family Defense Project – Family Defense interns help families and individuals affected by difficult life circumstances such as poverty and domestic violence and who are under investigation by the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS) or who are appealing DCFS indicated findings.

Family Law Division – Family Law interns assist with the representation of survivors of gender-based violence in divorce and parentage actions to help them achieve safety from abusive relationships.

Incarcerated Survivors (remote) – Interns assist in providing a range of civil legal services to survivors of gender-based violence who are either incarcerated are under the threat of correctional control.

Independence Project (immigration) – Immigration interns assist undocumented survivors of gender-based violence gain legal status by helping them apply for a U-Visa or self-petitioning under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

Order of Protection (OP) Division – Interns assist survivors of gender-based violence obtain civil orders of protection.

Client Support/Social Work Internship (Bi-lingual) – The bi-lingual social work intern works with Client Support Coordinator, and responsibilities include: outreach, case management, intake, and crisis prevention.  Interns must be bi-lingual (Spanish/English).

If you are interested in an internship with Ascend Justice, please fill out our volunteer/intern form here.

Questions can be sent to volunteerservices@ascendjustice.org. Internship applications are accepted on a rolling basis for each term until filled.

Work with us as a Fellow

Fellows are law school graduates who work with us to provide legal advocacy to our clients. Ascend Justice accepts applications for school-based post-graduate fellowships, as well as external post-graduate fellowship programs such as Skadden and Equal Justice Works fellowships.

Skadden and Equal Justice Works fellowship candidates who wish to partner with Ascend Justice for a fellowship starting in 2025 should send a resume and a letter outlining their area of interest (e.g. family defense, immigration, orders of protection, etc.) by Friday, July 12, 2024 to our Executive Director, Margaret Duval (mduval@ascendjustice.org).

get help now


if you are in immediate danger


24/7 Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline


(877) 863-6338

Orders of Protection

Ascend Justice Remote OP Hotline:
Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 5 pm