August 23, 2019

Important: Founder and Legal Director Joan Meier Stepping Down

For Immediate Release: August 23, 2019

Statement from Board of Directors:

With gratitude and honor, we announce that, as of September 1, 2019, and after 16 years of leadership at the Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project (DV LEAP), Joan Meier will be stepping down. As DV LEAP’s Founder and former Executive Director, and more recently, Legal Director, Joan is known internationally for her trailblazing appellate advocacy, scholarship and unwavering commitment to survivors of domestic violence. Her legal and legislative victories, judicial trainings, and cutting-edge research have extended protections to survivors, improved laws, and empowered vulnerable individuals and their families.

Highlights of Joan’s leadership at DV LEAP include:
  • Building a network of more than 25 law firms to provide pro bono partnerships with DV LEAP on our appeals
  • Building a recognized domestic violence presence in the U.S. Supreme Court through 13 cases to date
  • Achieving ground-breaking state appellate victories such as CW v. EF and CH v SH, bi-coastal cases which affirmed that child safety must always be the priority in custody decisions
  • Raising the funds to staff this work and then leading the campaign to fund and hire a separate Executive Director
  • Providing numerous judicial, legal, and expert trainings and media interviews
  • Co-leading the successful effort for adoption of H. Con. Res. 72 on Child Safety in Family Courts, a ground-breaking Congressional Resolution urging state-level reforms
  • Developing cutting-edge scholarship and research to awaken policymakers and the public to the needed changes in family courts

Taken together, these accomplishments and milestones have helped transform the legal landscape and establish DV LEAP as a critical resource for abuse survivors, lawyers, and advocacy organizations across the U.S. We look forward to building on Joan’s inspiring vision and legacy as DV LEAP continues to deepen and expand collaborations, programming, and outreach.

We are ever grateful toJoan for her years of dedication to DV LEAP. She will be greatly missed by our staff, Board members, and pro-bono partners alike. We wish her the best in her new endeavors and look forward to our continued collaboration. 

Finally, we are delighted to announce that Sasha Drobnick, DV LEAP’s current Managing Attorney, will assume the post of Legal Director on September 1. Having served the organization for eight years, she brings a depth of domestic violence and appellate expertise to this new position. Prior to joining DV LEAP, Sasha practiced family law in Maryland, where she was recognized for her outstanding commitment to domestic violence and pro bono advocacy. We are fortunate to work with Sasha in this new capacity and we look forward to her leadership.  

Transitions are opportunities to reflect on our accomplishments to date, and to look forward to more in our future.  Please join us in honoring Joan’s legacy as we recommit to making the law work for every survivor of domestic violence.


The DV LEAP Board of Directors

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