Since former BBA President Jack Regan (WilmerHale) made supporting veterans, military personnel and their families his presidential priority in 2010, the BBA’s commitment to helping this population has been at the forefront of our public service initiatives.
In the past few months alone, the BBA increased access to legal assistance through the BBA Lawyer Referral Service’s Military Legal Help Line, developed a CLE training series on Representing Military Personnel and Veterans, and had a presence at Yellow Ribbon events.
Of course, we couldn’t do it alone. Our efforts have been aided enormously by our dedicated volunteers and key community partners. Our Active Duty, Family Members & Veterans Committee of the BBA Delivery of Legal Service Section overseas these initiatives and works with legal services organizations. The two Co-Chairs, Lynn Girton (Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association) and Anna Schleelein (Shelter Legal Services Foundation), help ensure that veterans, military personnel and their families have access to quality legal assistance.
The BBA and Beyond the Billable would like to thank our formal community partners who help make these initiatives possible:
With the recent move of the Military Legal Help Line to the BBA Lawyer Referral Service (LRS), the BBA will be offering a four-part CLE series to prepare attorneys to address the unique legal needs of veterans and military personnel. The trainings will cover the key areas of need—family law and domestic relations, bankruptcy and consumer finance, estate planning, employment law, landlord/tenant law, and veterans benefits.
Registration for any or all of these seminars is free for volunteers who serve on one of the military panels for the BBA Lawyer Referral Service.
Beyond the Billable reached out to Dan Nagin, the Director of Community Lawyering Clinics at the WilmerHale Legal Services Center at Harvard Law School, to learn more about what to expect at the trainings.
Here’s what he had to say:
“The BBA’s trainings will provide a comprehensive introduction to some of the most common legal issues service members and veterans encounter. The trainings are designed not only to cover the substantive topics most relevant to the military community, but also to give attorneys a practical tool kit for lawyering on behalf of service members and veterans in these key areas of law. The presenters are experts in their field who will focus on advocacy tips, common pitfalls, and practice resources. Attendees will leave armed with the basic knowledge and skills to represent service members and veterans effectively and to respond to their unique legal needs. Overall, our goal is simple, but important: to connect more trained lawyers to the service members and veterans who need access to justice.”
Click on the links below for more information and to RSVP:
September 26th: Family Law and Domestic Relations
October 17th: Bankruptcy and Consumer Finance
November 7th: Estate Planning, Employment Law, and Landlord/Tenant Law
November 21st: Veterans Benefits
Stay tuned for a closer look at each of the trainings in the upcoming months.
As of September 1st, the Boston Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) is the new home of the Military Legal Help Line. This line will connect veterans, military personnel, and their families with lawyers and other legal resources. The service will refer callers to qualified attorneys offering reduced fee and pro bono legal assistance or the appropriate government or non-profit agency.
Beyond the Billable checked in with Solana Goss, the LRS intake coordinator, to hear what she has to say about line:
“As the intake coordinator of the BBA Lawyer Referral Service, I am excited and proud to help this deserving population connect with the legal resources they need. The BBA LRS is happy to support the needs of the community and those who served our country, by expanding the availability of legal assistance to active duty military, veterans and their families.”
If you are seeking legal assistance, please call the Military Legal Help Line at 617-742-0625 or 1-800-552-7046. You can also fill out an online request at www.bostonbarlawyer.org.
Stay tuned for more information on upcoming trainings to prepare additional attorneys to take these types of cases.
Volunteer attorneys provided legal assistance to homeless and at-risk veterans at the Massachusetts Stand Down Event last Friday and Saturday.
Last Friday, 27 volunteer attorneys and four law students provided legal assistance to 122 homeless and at-risk veterans at the Massachusetts Stand Down at the Dorchester IBEW. Shelter Legal Services and members of the Boston Bar Association’s Military & Veterans Committee recruited volunteers to offer assistance in areas including state and federal benefits, family law, consumer debt and bankruptcy, housing, taxes, and criminal records.
“It is critical that we have attorneys from a variety of practice areas to assist these veterans who are some of the most vulnerable members of the community. By providing legal counseling, advice, and referrals, we are able to help veterans remove legal barriers to stable housing and self-sufficiency,” explained Anna Schleelein, Co-Executive Director of Shelter Legal Services and the coordinator of the event.
Stay tuned for more information on additional opportunities to assist veterans coming up in the fall. For more information about Shelter Legal Services, visit www.shelterlegalservices.org.