DC Volunteer Lawyers Project is thrilled to welcome new Equal Justice Works Fellow, Tara Branine, to our team!

Tara, whose fellowship is sponsored by the Crowell & Moring Foundation, will work at the intersection of domestic violence and gun violence by representing clients in Civil Protection Order (CPO), Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO), and family law matters.

Through her fellowship, Tara will represent survivors who have suffered gun violence or were threatened by gun violence. In addition to representing clients in CPO and ERPO matters, Tara will provide representation in a limited number of family law cases where a child custody order or divorce decree would provide continued stability and violence prevention. To help educate the community about the availability of ERPOs, Tara will provide know-your-rights presentations and work with DCVLP’s community partners.

ERPOs were enacted in 2019 by the DC Council to create a new – and urgently needed – form of protection aimed at preventing gun violence. Like most “red flag” laws, this measure permits law enforcement to seek a restraining order against an individual who would be a danger to themselves or others if they possess or purchase firearms. However, these orders have been extremely underutilized, and fewer than 30 have ever been filed. Tara’s Equal Justice Works project will help address the shortage of services available for survivors in DC as well as provide a specific legal tool for intervening before gun violence happens.

Tara’s project will make a tremendous impact in the community, and we are grateful to Crowell & Moring and Equal Justice Works for making this fellowship possible. Together with our community partners, we can help survivors and their families escape violence and move toward long-term stability.