The ABA, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) unveiled a new partnership and pilot program this month to help reduce the current backlog facing veterans seeking disability benefits. VA General Counsel Will Gunn announced the initiative at an Aug. 10 convocation during the ABA Annual Meeting that was convened to discuss ways to assist members of the military, their families and veterans. A “Veterans Claims Assistance Network” established by the ABA will recruit volunteer lawyers through a range of legal service providers – including law firms, the Military Spouse JD Network and those funded by the LSC – and pair them with veterans who need legal assistance, such as gathering and obtaining evidence required by law to support their disability claims. Lawyers who volunteer for the program at the network’s website will receive specialized training prepared by the VA. The two initial sites for the pilot program are Chicago and St. Petersburg, Florida. “The ABA is proud to take a lead for the legal profession in connecting veterans with pro bono attorneys who will help them receive the aid our nation owes them for their selfless courage,” said Immediate Past President Laurel G. Bellows. VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki emphasized in a press release that ending the backlog is an “all hands on deck effort that requires teamwork, both in and out of government.” “This partnership between VA, ABA and LSC is aimed at surging resources to deliver earned benefits to veterans more quickly,” he said.