2014 Equal Justice Works Fellow, Ginger Devaney

Ginger Devaney

Name of Host Organization: Domestic Violence Legal Clinic
City, State: Chicago, Illinois
Issue area: Domestic Violence, Immigrant Populations
Sponsors: Greenberg Traurig, LLP

The Project

Ginger united immigration law and family law into an accessible package to achieve social, legal, and economic independence for victims of domestic violence who seek orders of protection in Chicago.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project: 
Victims of domestic violence face a dizzying array of options, processes, organizations and people when they seek legal aid in filing an order of protection, getting a divorce and child support, and finding housing, childcare, and work. Undocumented victims have even greater legal needs because they have complex immigration issues in addition to the routine challenges faced by victims. Many are prevented from seeking the full support to which they are entitled because they must apply and keep track of services from numerous agencies during an already stressful and chaotic time in their lives. The Independence Project will unite order of protection, immigration, and divorce services along with referrals to economic empowerment courses to help undocumented abuse victims get the help they need at their first point of contact with the judicial system, the Domestic Violence Courthouse.
Fellowship Highlights: 
In the past two years, Ginger has:
• Represented more than 180 clients in Order of Protection and immigration cases.
• Received a grant to fund the costs of obtaining necessary documents for indigent clients.
• Launched a pro bono component of the Independence Project with her sponsor firm, Greenberg Traurig, LLP.
• Completed the Chicago Foundation for Women’s Advocacy Academy, where she learned additional ways to advocate for her clients.
What's Next: 
In the next six months, Ginger plans to:
• Continue representing current clients and accept new clients into the Independence Project
• Work with her sponsor to launch a pro bono component of her project to expand its reach
• Complete the Chicago Foundation for Women’s Advocacy Academy to learn how to effect more systemic change around the issues related to her project
• Meet with community organizations and continue to develop relationships that will help clients access the specific resources that they need
Where are they now?: 
Now that the Fellowship is complete, Ginger plans to:
• Remain at the Domestic Violence Legal Clinic as a staff attorney and continue the Independence Project.
• Continue to build partnerships with other social service agencies.
• Expand the pro bono component of the Independence Project to include attorneys and professionals from more Chicago-area firms and businesses.

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