Military Legal Assistance Offices
Visit the U.S. Armed Forces Legal Assistance Locator to locate the nearest military legal assistance office (click on "Advanced" and "Accept"). Servicemembers and their families may access free legal assistance at these offices. See our Working with a Lawyer publication for more details on eligibility.
Legal Aid and Pro Bono Programs
Visit FindLegalHelp.org to locate programs that provide free civil legal assistance. These organizations may or may not have military-specific services. Contact these programs for more details on eligibility.
Lawyer Referral Programs
Visit the Lawyer Referral Directory to locate programs that can connect you to a lawyer who charges for legal services. In the search box, type your state, county, or city to find local programs. Some attorneys with these programs, however, may offer discounted initial consultations or may charge reduced fees based on your income. Contact these programs for more information.
Military/Veteran Specific Programs
If programs are listed below, they are designed to assist military members and/or veterans with legal matters. See the specific details and contact these programs for more information. Also visit nationwide programs.
ABA Free Legal Answers
If you can't afford a lawyer, ABA Free Legal Answers may be able to help. For most civil (non-criminal) legal questions, if your state participates, click on "Select the state where you live" and click on your state to ask a question.
For VA benefits, discharge upgrades, or other veteran-related legal questions: Choose "ABA Federal" in the "Select the state where you live" dropdown menu to ask a discharge upgrade or VA-related question, and receive an answer from an attorney.
The Bar Association of San Francisco
Lawyer Referral and Information Service
301 Battery Street 3rd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94111
Currently, sliding scale services are available for military personnel and their families for civil matters which include, wills, health care proxies, durable powers of attorney, estate planning, bankruptcy debtor/creditor, family law issues, landlord/tenant, employment, consumer, housing, immigration and taxes.
Institute for Military Personnel, Veterans, Human Rights and International Law & AMVETS Legal Clinic
One University Drive
Orange, CA 92866
Chapman University Military Law & Policy Institute and AMVETS Legal Clinic is a free legal clinic for active duty troops and veterans. Law students handle the cases and are taught and supervised by former JAG Officers. The AMVETS Legal Clinic assists with the following types of matters: (1) Traumatic Service Group Life Insurance (TSGLI) appeals, (2) Discharge upgrade applications, (3) Veterans benefits appeals, and (4) Basic civil legal claims, such as landlord and tenant disputes.
Swords to Plowshares
Legal Services Unit
San Francisco, California
Mo Siedor, Legal Director
Swords to Plowshares is a nationally-recognized nonprofit that offers free wraparound services to homeless and low-income veterans in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Legal Services Unit provides free attorney advice and representation for veterans in their VA benefits claims and military discharge upgrades before military corrections boards.
Veterans Legal Clinic
University of San Diego
5998 Alcala Park
Barcelona Hall, Room 305
San Diego, CA 92110
Robert F. Muth, Supervising Attorney
The Veterans Legal Clinic at the University of San Diego School of Law provides free legal services for active duty, veterans and military family members who have disputes with predatory lenders and for-profit educational institutions over the use of GI Bill funds and related loans. All matters are handled by law students under the direction of a supervising attorney who is a former Captain and Judge Advocate in the U.S. Marine Corps. This clinic provides free legal services including advice, identification of potential claims and representation in litigation, arbitration and other forms of dispute resolution.
Veterans Legal Advocacy Center
Golden Gate University School of Law
San Francisco, California
Daniel R. Devoy, Director and Visiting Assistant Professor
This program aids and assists military veterans with claims before the Department of Veterans Affairs for Service Connected Disabilities, as well as discharge upgrades before Review Boards. They do not charge for their services.