Joan Meier

Professor of Clinical Law, George Washington University Law School, and Legal Director, DV LEAP. Specializes in domestic violence law.

Joan Meier is a Professor of Clinical Law at George Washington University Law School, and the Founder and Executive Director of the Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project (DV LEAP). Joan Meier has been a clinical law professor for 22 years at the George Washington University Law School, where she founded three pioneering and nationally recognized interdisciplinary domestic violence clinical programs. She has published widely on domestic violence, particularly relating to custody and abuse.

Joan founded DV LEAP in 2003 to provide pro bono appeals in domestic violence cases, particularly those involving custody. DV LEAP has filed nine “friend of the court” briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court, on the constitutional rights of accused batterers, mandatory arrest statutes, and the Hague Convention on International Civil Abduction, among others. DV LEAP has also represented friends of the court and survivors of domestic violence in state court appeals all over the country and in the District of Columbia on a wide array of issues including criminal prosecution of batterers, enforcement of civil protection orders, custody, and other issues. DV LEAP and Professor Meier have also provided numerous trainings for judges, psychologists, lawyers, domestic violence coalitions, and others on best practices in adjudication of domestic violence and protective parent litigation.

DV LEAP and Joan have received several awards, including among others, the American Bar Association’s first ever “Sharon Corbitt Award for exceptional service and leadership in improving the legal response to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and/or stalking;” and the “Outstanding Leadership” Award from Justice for Children in 2007. Joan received the Cahn Award from the National Equal Justice Library for her article on domestic violence and welfare reform. She was featured as a commentator in Breaking the Silence: Children’s Voices, the PBS documentary that aired in October 2005. She publishes widely on custody, domestic violence, teaching, child abuse, and related issues.

She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1980, cum laude from the University of Chicago Law School in 1983, and clerked on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.