GPSolo Magazine - January February 2005
From the Editor
Serving Those Who Serve
No man of a certain age in America can escape the litmus test of military service. And even though the Vietnam-era draft has ended, the military represents more than just going out and fighting wars and defending honor. It’s a way of life, an amalgam of America, and the heart and soul of a nation. And it’s daunting.
Not until I served as a part of the Selective Service System, albeit on a local board in deep standby mode, did I gain any perspective on what the military really means. Among the small-town bankers, car dealers, and Rotarians, I was the lone lawyer and probably the only aging flower child during our annual mock hearings, granting exemptions to those who even hinted at conscientious objection and scrutinizing hardship pleas, at odds with the rest of our board. A discussion last winter with retired USMC Colonel and Chicago Judge Alexander White Jr. of how a small-town draft board operated inspired this issue.
The General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division has long considered itself “the home of the military lawyer,” and Judge White chairs the Section’s Military Lawyers Committee. This committee’s web page, www.abanet.org/genpractice/military/index.html, feature links to valuable information, which every one of our readers—especially those who aren’t military lawyers—will find useful. The ABA Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel, www.abanet.org/legalservices/lamp, and its ongoing project, Operation Enduring LAMP, www.abanet.org/legalservices/helpreservists/home.html, provides a mother lode of valuable resources to the practitioner. The Section sponsors these committees and projects not just to serve those who are active in the military; it’s about serving those who are within a servicemember’s constellation: families, landlords, creditors, employers—even enemies and detractors.
The Section counts active and former military personnel among its members and leaders, from generals to buck privates. Some of them have been career military, in law-related positions and not, some weekend warriors, and some have simply been guests of Uncle Sam. Even among those who’ve never been in the military or who live far from a military base, there’s nary a reader who is not touched in some way by those in the military. Preparing for (or avoiding) the call to active duty and extended tours; dealing with a client or having a family member, friend, neighbor, or employee in the service; or even knowing that the postman’s son or daughter is serving brings issues involving the military into your practice. Even if you practice in some rarified area that keeps you from ever coming across a client with any connection to the military, there’s something for you in this issue.
Bryan Spencer, a retired Army colonel, spearheaded this issue, shaping it, finding authors, and putting his vast experience to work to deliver this issue in record time. To Bryan we give our heartfelt thanks. He was instrumental in translating into plain English the arcane language of the military.
What’s ahead on the horizon? March brings the Best of ABA Sections, drawing articles from other Sections’ publications relevant to general, solo, and small firm lawyers. The April/May issue will focus upon collections, with articles dealing with aspects of collecting everything from money to alms for the needy. An exciting year looms ahead, and we’re looking forward to making you part of the action.
jennifer j. rose, editor-in-chief of GPSolo , is a lawyer and writer living in Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.