Our Story, Our Services
The Domestic Violence Prosecution Hybrid Clinic (DVPH) equips tomorrow’s attorneys, prosecutors, gender equity activists, and criminal justice reformers with the knowledge, skills, and sensitivity necessary to address intimate partner and sexual assault violence. Using a multiculturally aware and trauma-informed approach, law students work in specialized domestic violence courts and with experienced Special Victims prosecutors from upstate NY counties.
DVPH law students are jointly supervised by Professor Mary A. Lynch and senior experienced SVU prosecutors. Immersed in the specialized substantive and procedural law and the phenomena of intimate partner violence, students practice a series of simulated criminal law exercises to prepare for their live encounters, while also learning about bail reform, the prosecutorial obligation to disclose evidence, the pandemic of violence against women, and mass incarceration. Former students and alums return to provide feedback, act as opposing counsel, and serve as career mentors.
Creating a More Inclusive Environment
In Fall 2020, Justice Center faculty organized an anti-bias training for field supervisors and participating offices. More than 75 local practitioners, including four District Attorneys, participated.
“This is something that we struggle with as teachers: we are graduating our students into one of the least diverse professions,” Lynch said. “It has accelerated our responsibility. And I think that there’s a real opportunity for us to [work with our field office partners] so that our students of color—and graduates of color—become our future supervisors of color.”
Coordinated Community Response (CCR)
The clinic is an important partner in the region’s Coordinated Community Response (CCR) to intimate partner and family violence. CCR ensures that courts, prosecutors, health systems, advocates, law enforcement, not-for-profits, and other community stakeholders provide survivors with more accessible justice processes, and safety support. CCR coalitions support fairer, safer, and more inclusive processes as well as survivor autonomy.
By the numbers
- 5 participating counties
- 20 experienced attorneys oversee student work in the field
- 14 of those attorneys are Albany Law School alumni
- 5 of those attorneys participated in DVPH clinic
- Albany County Coalition Against Domestic Abuse (ACCADA)
- Albany City Court Domestic Violence Court Advisory Group
- Rensselaer County Integrated Domestic Violence Court Stakeholders Group
- Unity House
- In Our Own Voices
Students learn to
- interview special victims and police witnesses
- analyze appropriate charging of crimes
- negotiate a plea deal
- engage in fact investigation and fact-gathering
- conduct oral argument, hearings and/or trials
Case types students work on (under supervision)
- sexual assault and abuse
- criminal trespassing
- violation of protection orders
- sexual conduct against a child
- disseminating indecent material to minors