For purposes of our services, gender-based violence refers to crimes of sexual exploitation and violence, which includes rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse, and sex trafficking. LOTUS Legal Clinic serves survivors of every sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, nationality, race, ability, and socioeconomic status.
LOTUS Legal Clinic provides free legal counsel to survivors of gender-based violence and human trafficking regardless of income.
The goals of our policy initiatives are to create systemic change in our laws and judicial systems to improve the lives and protect the legal interests of victims of gender-based violence and human trafficking.
We are available to provide training for community and legal system stakeholders.
LOTUS believes that survivor empowerment is the core of what makes LOTUS unique as a legal clinic. Programs like Untold Stories help our clients live through the challenges of their cases and come through with hope and purpose. Using art. literature and other humanities gives power to the law and direct access to what survivors teach us and ask us to change about the status quo. LOTUS helps survivors meet their personal goals through scholarships and services to help them become change agents, nonprofit CEO’s, peer mentors, writers and public speakers.
LOTUS Legal Clinic empowers survivors of sexual violence and trafficking. We provide direct, comprehensive legal services, advocacy and community education, and we invest in survivors as change agents.
Creating a national model for restoring dignity, rights and survivors’ voices
Founder Rachel Monaco-Wilcox discusses LOTUS's Survivor Scholarship Fund.
Erika J. Petty, JD
Director of Legal Services
Kate Knowlton, JD
Interim Executive Director and Staff Attorney
Catherine Leonard, JD
Rachel Monaco-Wilcox, JD
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
LOTUS Board President
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children,
Federal Bureau of Investigation (Retired)
Barry C. Slagle
LOTUS Board Past President
Wisconsin Judicial Court Commissioner (Retired)
LOTUS Board Treasurer
Kerkman & Dunn Attorneys at Law
Dr. Thomas Axel Lifvendahl
LOTUS Board Secretary
Lifvendahl & Associates
Mount Mary University Adjunct Associate Professor
Cardinal Stritch University Adjunct Professor
Kristen D. Hardy
Briggs & Stratton,
Marquette University Law School Adjunct Professor
Melissa B. Espin
O'Neil, Cannon, Hollman, DeJong & Laing S.C.
Second Chakra Women's Health Care, LLC
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Adjunct Faculty
Survivor Advocate and Consultant
Assistant Dean for Public Service,
Marquette University Law School
Director of Development
Yolanda Toral, B.A.
Bilingual Victim Advocate (English & Spanish)
Austin Mahlon Reece, M.A.
Director of Survivor Emowerment
Lizette Olivas, B.A.
Director of Operations
Dawn Helmrich, MA
LOTUS Board Past President
United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County,
Organizer of Denim Day Milwaukee
Janine P. Geske
Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court,
Marquette University Law School (Retired)
Steven R. Johnson
Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility
To find out if we can help you with your case, we need to have a short phone interview with you. Call or text us 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week at (414) 885-1469 ; leave a message and you will be contacted within one business day. Please be ready to spend about 10 - 30 minutes talking about your matter, and have information ready with specifics like case numbers.
Once the intake interview is done, we will review and decide if we are able to take your case. This happens once a week in our staff meetings, so we will get back to you within 5-7 business days.
This means the sooner you can get in touch about any pending court matters, the better.
For general inquiries about LOTUS, guest speaker availability or interviews, contact or call (414) 885-1469.
To inquire about volunteering as a pro bono attorney, contact our Director of Legal Serivces, Erika Petty at
Se habla Español.
IMPORTANT! Getting in touch with us through this page or in the contact form is not meant to be legal advice and communicating with us here does not make us your lawyers.
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