ABA Sets New Standards for Lawyers Representing Domestic Violence Victims
Thursday, February 14, 2008 10:58 AM

Citing the recent case of Maria Frances Lauterbach, a U.S. Marine believed to have been murdered by fellow Marine Cesar Laureana against whom Lauterbach had a military protective order, advocates for domestic violence victims point out the flaws in the protective order system.  Poor communication among civil law enforcement authorities military authorities, and inconsistent issuance periods are just two of the problems in the Lauterbach case.  


The American Bar Association’s Commission on Domestic Violence acknowledged the systemic problem, and as a result has issued new standards for lawyers working with victims. The standards highlight the responsibility of lawyers in these cases, suggesting lawyers go beyond simply filing paperwork. The new standards also emphasize increased cooperation between military and civilian authorities, and ask lawyers to proactively contact military commanders regarding protective orders when necessary.


On a broader level, the standards encourage lawyers to gain holistic understanding of domestic violence. Lawyers should make appropriate referrals, understand that victims need the utmost care and communication from their lawyers, and explain thoroughly the provisions of protective orders, among other points. Members of the ABA Commission on Domestic Violence are currently touring the country to present the new guidelines to lawyers and advocates.


Compiled from:Legal Standards Target Protective-Order Breakdowns,” Women’s eNEWS, 12 February 2008.