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 Hotline is an opportunity for volunteers to work directly with survivors of gender-based violence over the phone to help them file for an Emergency Order of Protection.  Volunteers interview clients and prepare and submit the petition for an Order of Protection, which includes the client’s affidavit, and other necessary court forms. 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.
Incarcerated Survivors Program
Ascend Justice is now placing clemency cases with interested and experienced firms!
Other Practice Areas
We occasionally have pro bono opportunities in our other practice areas such as family law and economic justice.  If you have experience in or would like to help out with either of those areas, please contact Volunteer Services at volunteerservices@ascendjustice.org. Training and assistance are always provided by our Ascend Justice attorneys.  Training videos for Family Defense and Orders of Protection are CLE credit eligible (for Illinois attorneys).
All Summer 2023 internship positions have been filled and applications are now closed. 
If you are interested in volunteering with Ascend Justice, please fill out our volunteer form here. Have questions? Please email volunteerservices@ascendjustice.org.

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 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 2023 should send a resume and a letter outlining their area of interest (e.g. family defense, immigration, orders of protection, etc.) by Friday July 14, 2023 to 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