Media Coverage

Legal Momentum in the Media

Members of the press: contact the communications department at 212-413-7558 or

  • Date: October 26, 2015 Featured In: ThinkProgress

    Excellent article on the need for paid "safe leave" to enable domestic violence victims to escape abuse. The article quotes Legal Momentum Vice President for Government Relations Lisalyn Jacobs, and links to our online State Law Guides.

    "Abusers also often use finances to exert control over their victims. As Lisalyn Jacobs, vice president for government relations at Legal Momentum, put it, 'The ability of the abuser to control the pursestrings is clearly key to the control and abuse.' Paid leave doesn’t cut a victim off from her own steady source of income.

    "Jacobs said her group is pushing for a postering requirement to have employers display information about safe leave at the workplace. Meanwhile, she recently urged people in the Obama administration to include domestic violence victims when talking about sick leave, particularly around the executive order. 'One of the biggest problems we as advocates face is that even where these provisions exist…people don’t know about it,' she said."

  • Date: October 22, 2015 Featured In: Talk Poverty Radio Podcast

    In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we next discuss the intersection of poverty and domestic violence with Lisalyn Jacobs of Legal Momentum, an organization dedicated to ensuring economic and personal security for women and girls, and Dana Bolger of Know Your IX, a national survivor-run, student-driven campaign to end campus sexual violence. (Minutes 15:00-45:00 of the 1-hour episode)

    "The thing that people sometimes miss when we're having these conversations is how interrelated a couple's finances can be. Oftentimes if we're talking about issues of domestic and sexual violence, we can be talking about a victim of somewhat limited means and as a consequence may not have the same number of options. The survivor may share expenses with the abuser and if that relationship breaks up they may not have the money they need for rent, for child care, for other kinds of things that keep their lives stable. Perhaps the survivor is entirely dependent economically."--Lisalyn Jacobs

  • Date: August 27, 2015 Featured In: ThinkProgress

    The ordinances get the abuse backward. “It’s like saying if somebody gets burglarized they’re going to be kicked out of their house,” said Penny Venetis, executive vice president and legal director at the advocacy organization Legal Momentum. “If you’re the victim of a crime, how could you possibly be evicted from your house?”

    It can have devastating consequences. “Women should not have to choose between being homeless and staying alive or keeping their children alive,” Venetis said. But “really that’s the choice you’re forcing them to make.”

    Action from states like Pennsylvania and Illinois could help pave the way. “If one state does it, it’s easier for another state to do it,” Venetis said. “When things like this happen it’s like a domino effect.”

  • Date: August 19, 2015 Featured In: Politico New York

    Lisalyn Jacobs, vice president for government relations at the women’s legal defense fund Legal Momentum, said it’s in universities’ best interest if administrators take appropriate steps to prevent sexual assault and handle complaints properly.

    “At the end of the day, universities do themselves a great service by handling themselves in a way that is responsive and transparent and holds people accountable,” she said. “When that is being done, that is much better for a university and its reputation.”

  • Date: August 19, 2015 Featured In: Bustle

    As the technology becomes more common, the supposed need for statutes of limitations lessens. Lynn Hecht Schafran, director of the National Judicial Education Program at the women's legal defense and education fund Legal Momentum, tells Bustle:

    "Being able to have tangible evidence that carries forward through the years is a very important step toward making it reasonable to lift these statutes of limitations."

    Of course, not every rape victim is given a rape kit, so DNA evidence isn't present in every case.

    Schafran doesn't foresee eliminating statutes of limitations in rape cases happening quickly, and if history's taught us anything, it's that these reforms take a long time. Nebraska became the first state to abolish exemptions for marital rape in 1976, but nearly 40 years later, it's still handled differently than other rape cases in several states, with different punishments, shorter reporting periods, or by being charged under a different criminal code. In the same way, getting rid of time limits on sexual assault cases will not happen overnight, so for now, Cosby and others accused of raping women decades ago will remain free.

  • Date: August 10, 2015 Featured In: The New York Times

    Officer Thompson met with a lawyer at Legal Momentum, a women’s advocacy group, which took her case pro bono. On her behalf, the group filed a pregnancy discrimination charge against the city with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in March 2014.

    Last month, the city settled the case, agreeing to pay Officer Thompson $50,000 and allowing her to take a makeup test in January, according to the settlement papers.

    In addition, the city promised to change its policy and to include, for the first time, women with pregnancy-related or childbirth-related conditions among those eligible to take makeup exams. City officials also agreed to pay $15,000 to cover Legal Momentum’s legal fees.

  • Date: August 4, 2015 Featured In: New York Daily News

    City bureaucrats refused to let a pregnant cop reschedule her sergeant’s exam — even though the test was on her due date.

    Now, thanks to a legal challenge by the determined officer, the city has changed its policy . . . .

    With the help of her union and lawyers from Legal Momentum, she filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. That led to a settlement with the city changing its policy.

  • Date: August 4, 2015 Featured In: The New York Post

    Both Thompson and the PBA repeatedly requested a new date, but were denied and instead offered “useless ‘accommodations’ — a pillow to sit on and extra time for the test — when she was already in labor,” according to Legal Momentum, a women’s-rights group that advocated on her behalf.

  • Date: July 27, 2015 Featured In: WPIX 11

    Legal Momentum's Senior Vice President and Director of the National Judicial Education Program, Lynn Hecht Schafran, commented on the Bill Cosby rape allegations in this WPIX evening news story.

    “I’m very glad that this is finally coming out in such a graphic form that it will smack people in the face,” said Lynn Hecht Schafran, executive Vice President of Legal Momentum, the women’s legal defense fund.

    She and her organization are why it’s illegal and actionable if somebody displays pornography in the workplace. They also successfully carried out legal action that resulted in the ceasing of firefighters and other first responders from harassing women in the workplace.

    Hecht Schafran has handled many cases similar to those profiled in the article, and she points one thing out about most of the alleged survivors of Cosby’s abuse. Assuming it happened, it took place way too long ago to take legal action.

    “We need to get rid of the statute of limitations on rape and sexual assault,” Hecht Schafran said.

  • Date: June 30, 2015 Featured In: Journal of Forensic Nursing

    This interview with National Judicial Education Program Project Attorney Claudia Bayliff discusses the language that is used to describe sexual violence, the importance of language choices, and how language shapes perceptions. Ms. Bayliff frequently presents on this topic to multidisciplinary audiences around the country. The program is also available as an online curriculum, Raped or “Seduced?” How Language Helps Shape Our Perceptions of Sexual Violence.

  • Date: June 3, 2015 Featured In: The Guardian

    This opinion piece by Legal Momentum's Executive Vice President and Legal Director, Penny M. Venetis, calls for FIFA to include an end to gender bias in much-needed reforms.

  • Date: June 1, 2015 Featured In: Bloomberg Business

    The scarf ruling not only supported religious freedom in hiring but also gender equity, said Penny Venetis, executive vice president and legal director of Legal Momentum, the New York-based nonprofit that advocates the legal rights of women.

    “Even though this ruling was about religious freedom, it was also against gender discrimination and stereotypical thinking about beauty in hiring decisions,” Venetis said.

    The case is reminiscent of lawsuits filed by female flight attendants in the 1970s and 1980s who challenged dress codes imposed on them by airlines that mandated wearing short skirts and revealing clothing -- and won in court, she said.

    “Dress codes can be a license to discriminate about people” and especially women, Venetis said.