Professor Becki Kondkar is Director of the Tulane Law School Domestic Violence Clinic, and is the founding Co-Director of the Tulane Law School Women’s Prison Project. Kondkar’s expertise includes gender-based violence litigation, the intersection of intimate partner violence with both civil and criminal legal systems, law enforcement responses to intimate partner violence, and the nexus of intimate partner violence and family law. Kondkar teaches trial skills and trauma-informed lawyering, while also representing survivors of intimate partner violence, sexual assault, stalking, and trafficking in a range of both civil and criminal cases.
As Clinic Director, Professor Kondkar has pioneered an innovative model for holistic client advocacy that allows students to explore issues of gender-based violence across a variety of legal forums and substantive areas of law, while also examining institutional and structural barriers to survivor safety and justice. Third-year law students working under faculty supervision provide direct representation to clients in contested civil proceedings that address survivor needs for not only protective orders and child custody, but also for a variety of other poverty law issues affecting survivor safety, economic security, and housing stability. At the same time, students also represent criminalized survivors through administrative proceedings for clemency and parole, and in appellate litigation such as criminal post-conviction cases.
In 2019, Kondkar founded the Women’s Prison Project, which seeks freedom for women unjustly incarcerated for killing an abusive partner or for participating in crimes under the duress of an abusive partner. A collaboration with the Criminal Justice Clinic and Co-Director Katherine Mattes, the Project explores and challenges the institutionalized practices that prevent women’s histories of abuse from being meaningfully considered in the criminal justice system. During the program’s first two years of operation, WPP has already secured freedom for 5 women serving or facing life sentences for killing abusive partners in self-defense. The Project has been nationally recognized for its groundbreaking work – in 2020, the Women’s Prison Project was selected by the American College of Trial Lawyers to receive the Emil Gumpert Award, the ACTL’s highest honor for promoting justice.(ACTL Selects Tulane Law School Women's Prison Project As 2020 Emil Gumpert Award Recipient). In 2019, the Women’s Prison Project was recognized for “Excellence in a Public Interest Project” by the Clinical Legal Education Association.
Nationally, Professor Kondkar has trained hundreds of attorneys, judges, domestic violence advocates, child welfare workers, and mental health professionals on civil and criminal legal issues affecting survivors of abuse; she has lectured frequently on the use and misuse of psychological science and expert testimony in cases involving intimate partner violence, and has authored both Louisiana and national practice manuals for lawyers representing survivors. Before joining Tulane in 2006, Kondkar handled intimate partner violence and child abuse cases in 11 states - first as a legal services lawyer representing domestic violence survivors, and later as part of a nationwide practice specializing in child abuse litigation.
Kondkar serves on the American Bar Association’s Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence, and on numerous local and statewide taskforces and committees that work to improve systemic responses to abuse survivors. Kondkar was the state’s first gubernatorial appointee to Louisiana’s Domestic Violence Prevention Commission. In 2012, she was awarded LSU’s “Esprit de Femme” award for her outstanding advocacy on behalf of the state’s women, and in 2015 the New Orleans Association for Women Attorneys recognized her advocacy with its Wynne Professionalism Award.