Fall-Winter 2014: Representing Veterans—What YOU Can Do for Your Country

Serving Those Who Served: Meeting Veterans’ Unmet Legal Needs

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Serving Those Who Served: Meeting Veterans’ Unmet Legal Needs

The United States has a long history of military conflict and the challenges associated with properly honoring and assisting with the transition of veterans from military service to civilian life. Demonstrating the proper treatment and appreciation of veterans to ensure their smooth transition from military service is primarily the responsibility of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), but many government and private organizations play a role in caring for veterans and their families.

This special issue of Experience describes some of the current problems facing veterans and describes the opportunities for service by lawyers, particularly those who call themselves senior lawyers. Senior lawyers who have achieved personal and economic security and now lead today’s law firms and communities can help create and staff workable solutions.

Friends, it is appropriate that I am writing this at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the year, Veterans Day, a day that I remember very well from my childhood, when we knew it as Armistice Day, the day the big guns fell silent on the “Western Front” to signal the end of what we then called The Great War.

Veterans benefits laws and regulations are complex, but probably no more so than the Internal Revenue Code or the immigration system. To master the VA system in order to help veterans obtain and retain VA benefits requires mastery of a new and complicated area of practice—but it is also a wonderful opportunity to help veterans who have served our country.

If you are representing a veteran on an appeal to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC), you need a copy of this book on your desk.

Over the past two decades, the Internet has single-handedly transformed the way we conduct business and our social affairs. As we have become more deeply enmeshed in the digital age, it has become increasingly important for us to address this dimension of our lives from an estate planning perspective. This column presents a strategy for doing so.

While most people (including many seniors) believe that seniors as a group are technologically challenged, that generalization (which may once have had some truth to it) is rapidly going the way of the dinosaurs. More and more seniors have acknowledged technology, and many of those who acknowledge it have adopted and even befriended it.

Many prospective clients now research and contact lawyers on the Internet. Lawyers may want to extend the traditional duty of confidentiality to these folks. But if tech-savvy individuals could disqualify every lawyer in town by sending damaging confidential (and thus disqualifying) unsolicited information, the possibility of mischief seems obvious.

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