Washington, D.C. – The DC Volunteer Lawyers Project (DCVLP) recently honored five Wilkinson Walsh associates as DCVLP’s Domestic Relations Branch Volunteers of the Year, recognizing their dedication on behalf of victims of domestic abuse and their children. The DCVLP honorees were Wilkinson Walsh associates Hal Brewster, Cali Cope-Kasten, Ash Jamali, Meg Loftus, and Kirsten Nelson.
Ash, Meg, and Kirsten were honored for a significant trial victory earlier this year. Working with DCVLP and under the supervision of partner Jeremy Barber, they prevailed in securing for their pro bono client full physical and legal custody over her two young children. Wilkinson Walsh’s client divorced her husband in 2015 after suffering months of domestic abuse. In January 2017, her ex-husband (the plaintiff) filed a lawsuit seeking primary custody of their two children, falsely claiming that she had effectively kidnapped the children when she moved from the District of Columbia to Maryland. At trial, the Wilkinson Walsh trial team proved that granting the plaintiff primary custody would not serve the best interests of the children. The Wilkinson Walsh associates presented five witnesses, including an expert, who established that the plaintiff’s lack of judgment and history of domestic violence undermined his ability to act as the primary custodial parent. After a three-day trial, the Court agreed and ruled in our client’s favor.
Hal and Cali are being honored for their ongoing work on a pro bono divorce and custody case for a plaintiff who is a survivor of domestic abuse. Over the past year, they have obtained significant pretrial relief, including garnishment of the defendant’s wages in satisfaction of overdue child support and temporary title to the family’s primary vehicle pending the final divorce. They also successfully defended their client against the defendant’s repeated motions to modify custody of their five young children. In conjunction with DCVLP, Hal and Cali have also put significant work into finding a permanent home for their client and her five children after they were forced to vacate the defendant’s residence.