Cause Area

  • Advocacy & Human Rights
  • Immigrants & Refugees
  • Justice & Legal
  • Women


177 N State St Ste 500CHICAGO, IL 60601 United States

Organization Information

Mission Statement

Our mission is to empower individuals and families impacted by gender-based violence or the child welfare system to achieve safety and stability through holistic legal advocacy and system reform.


Founded in 1982 & incorporated in 1989 as Pro Bono Advocates, Ascend Justice has 4 decades of experience meeting the needs of survivors of domestic violence (DV). From 2005 to 2019 we were known as the Domestic Violence Legal Clinic. In 2019 we merged w/ the Family Defense Center & rebranded as Ascend Justice. Throughout our history, we’ve worked to increase the safety & independence of survivors of DV w/ skilled, compassionate legal representation. Our Order of Protection (OP) Clinic & our domestic relations practices are our longest-standing client services. Our long-time location in the Cook County Circuit Court DV Courthouse allows us to offer emergency legal services related to OPs & teams of volunteers work w/ staff attorneys to assist these clients w/ brief services, legal advice, &, in some cases, legal representation at the emergency stage of litigation. Our 2nd office on State St., offers longer-term legal representation & assistance in the family law, immigration, economic justice, & family defense matters that are linked to the long-term safety of survivors & their children. In addition, Client Support Coordinators in both offices help w/ safety planning, emotional support, & connections to the resources necessary for safety & independence. In March 2021, we launched an innovative new practice serving incarcerated survivors of DV. Two attorneys collaborate w/ the IL Department of Corrections & Cook County Jail to provide civil legal services to survivors in women’s correctional facilities.


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