Domestic Violence Law Practicum

In this course, students work on real cases, either at faculty-supervised field placements or under the direct supervision of Nancy Lemon, DVP Director, while enrolled in a classroom component taught by Ms. Lemon.

Students may choose a placement at one of various legal agencies in the Bay Area. Most of the time, students get their first choice. The work focuses on restraining orders, family law, public benefits, immigration, asylum, employment issues, prosecution of batterers, appellate work, or other issues involving domestic violence. Students also may work on policy matters, including helping draft and advocate for legislation.

At the placements, students interview clients; draft restraining orders, memoranda, and motions; represent clients at hearings; argue motions; and research policy issues. They may also attend meetings with attorneys, government officials, judges and legislators.

In July 2013, the California bar exam included writing a memo about admissibility of testimony by a domestic violence expert for the prosecution. The expert taught Domestic Violence Law at the state law school (“Columbia School of Law”) and worked with the state domestic violence coalition (CPEDV). While her fictional name was Pamela Simone, bar-takers who had taken Nancy Lemon’s classes recognized Professor Lemon immediately, and had the pleasure of laughing while they wrote, a rare occurrence – and laughing helps people relax.

Domestic violence also appeared on the July 2018 California bar exam. Clearly, students who have studied domestic violence in law school have a better chance of passing the exam.

The Jim Fahey Safe Homes Fund for Women endowment was established in 2007 to provide scholarships for graduate students at UC Berkeley with demonstrated financial need and a strong aptitude in relevant subjects as well as a deep commitment to combating domestic violence against women. Awards have been made each spring since 2011. See the Photos page for details.

Next deadline to apply is March 15, 2022. Go to for more information and the application form.

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