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Partners’ Pro Bono Attorney Profile: Alyson Villano

September 13, 2011

Partners’ Pro Bono Attorney Profile:  Alyson Villano

VillanoPartners for Women and Justice is pleased to recognize one of our exceptional volunteer attorneys -  Alyson Villano, Esq., an associate in the Newark Office of Patton Boggs LLP. 

In Alyson’s own words, she got involved with Partners because “I wanted to make a difference in the lives of women and children in crisis.  When I see the joy and relief on a woman’s face when she knows that she and her children are one step closer to safety - I know I am making that difference.”

Since August of 2008, Alyson has been a volunteer with the Domestic Violence Pro Bono Legal Representation program, a joint program of Partners for Women and Justice and Rachel Coalition.  The program provides free legal assistance to victims of domestic violence who are seeking restraining orders and other relief in Family Court.  In her representation of our clients, Alyson gives them a voice, making it possible for them to leave abusive relationships, escape physical danger, protect their children from witnessing abuse (or worse) and truly begin a new life.  Her work allows our clients to experience what for many of them is a new or forgotten sensation: peace.

Alyson is an effective advocate for our clients because, in addition to her excellent legal skills, she understands the issues victims of domestic violence face and is sensitive to the isolation, fear, and emotional turmoil that they experience as they take steps to leave an abusive relationship.  She also understands the impact of violence on children and how the very systems put in place to protect victims can fail them.

Since she started with the program 3 years ago, Alyson has represented more than 10 of our clients – all victims of domestic violence - in Family Court proceedings, logging hundreds of hours of pro bono legal services. 

In addition, Alyson continually recruits new volunteers from her firm.  Thanks to her, more than 25 Patton Boggs attorneys have been trained to represent victims of domestic violence at final restraining order hearings and regularly volunteer to be on call to represent our clients on short notice.   Alyson has spent untold hours serving as a resource within the firm for these other attorneys.  

Ms. Villano joined Patton Boggs LLP. in 2006 after clerking for the Honorable Dennis M. Cavanaugh of the United States District Court of New Jersey.  She attended Seton Hall University School of Law, where she received The National Association of Women Lawyers Award, the Raymond Del Tufo Constitutional Law Award, and the Student Bar Association Distinguished Service Award.  Ms. Villano was honored by New Jersey Monthly Magazine as a “Rising Star” in 2010. 

We thank Ms. Villano for her time, enthusiasm and inspiring efforts helping women and children in need.  And we thank Patton Boggs for their support of our pro bono program.

Click here to listen to Ms. Villano talk about her pro bono work for Partners on DIY World Radio.