Coordinating Committee on Veterans Benefits and Services
The ABA Coordinating Committee on Veterans Benefits and Services (CCVBS) was created by the ABA Board of Governors to provide a forum in which all of the ABA entities engaged in some form of work to address the legal needs of veterans could share information, consult, and collaborate—not just with each other, but also with groups and organizations external to the ABA with a similar focus. To meet this objective, the CCVBS meets at the ABA Midyear and Annual Meetings and is open to all attendees interested in veterans legal services. The CCVBS and its highly experienced members also provide support and direction to the work of the ABA Military and Veterans Legal Center and its initiatives.
Military Pro Bono Project
The ABA Military Pro Bono Project is the only national network of attorneys providing pro bono civil legal services to junior-enlisted servicemembers and their families stationed worldwide. Unresolved legal problems affecting servicemembers and their families can have a direct, adverse effect on military readiness, so the ABA worked closely with the Department of Defense and the five service branches to create a system to connect military members with pro bono civilian legal counsel who work to solve the legal problem for the servicemember. Military personnel and dependents seeking assistance from the Project must first meet with a military legal assistance attorney for consultation. If the matter is deemed appropriate for referral, the military attorney will submit the case to the Project for placement with a pro bono attorney. Attorneys wishing to assist military families in need of civil legal assistance may register with the Project to be notified of volunteer opportunities in their jurisdictions and areas of practice. For more information about the Military Pro Bono Project, visit www.militaryprobono.org. To see example cases handled by our volunteers, click here.
First created by the ABA Section of Family Law and "adopted" and expanded and maintained by the LAMP Committee, Operation Stand-By is a state-by-state list of civilian attorneys, divided by practice area, who have volunteered to provide consultation and advice to military attorneys or other pro bono attorneys when necessary to better advise their military and veteran clients. Attorneys wishing to volunteer their consultation services through Operation Stand-By may do so by signing up at www.militaryprobono.org.
Maintained by the LAMP Committee, ABA Home Front is an online legal education and referral resource center, first launched in 2011. The site includes a library of articles on a wide variety of topics relevant to servicemembers and veterans, written for non-lawyers, and a national index of military legal assistance, pro bono, legal aid, bar association, lawyer referral, and other organizations providing legal support to servicemembers and veterans. The site is available at www.ABAHomeFront.org.
Veterans Claims Assistance Network
Visit www.ABAVCAN.org to learn how to obtain and maintain VA accreditation, view webinars for VA accreditation, and locate organizations with pro bono opportunities. In 2014-15 and 2018-19, this pilot program also provided veterans and volunteer attorneys with the opportunity to work together to prepare and complete the veteran’s initial disability benefits claims for submission to the VA.
Other ABA Initiatives for Military Personnel and Veterans
Military Legal Professional Transition Toolkit
First developed by the ABA Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division, and recently expanded with involvement by the LAMP Committee and volunteers from the Nestle corporate legal department and White and Case law firm, the Toolkit provides educational information and resources for military attorneys and paralegals who are transitioning from the military into civilian practice. The Toolkit development group sponsored a networking reception in Washington, DC, in November 2017 with the Military Spouse JD Network, and it maintains a LinkedIn networking group. The Toolkit is available at http://ambar.org/jagstocivilian.
Homeless Veterans Justice Initiative
Operated by the Commission on Homelessness and Poverty, the Homeless Veterans Justice Initiative works with the VA to address veteran homelessness by fostering replication of Veterans Treatment Courts, supporting the Veterans Justice Outreach Initiative, and removing barriers to housing and self-sufficiency by addressing child support arrears. The Initiative has also worked to advance ABA policy related to Veterans Treatment Courts. More information is available at https://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_services/homelessness_poverty/initiatives/homeless_veterans/
Military and Veterans Health Law Initiative
Operated by the Health Law Section, the Military and Veterans Health Law Interest Group encompasses all areas of health law pertaining to active military and veterans with a particular focus on collaboration with the ABA Military Pro Bono Project and ABA VCAN program. The Interest Group also serves as a resource to Law School Veterans Clinics by providing a mechanism for sharing best practices, recent trends, proposed and new regulations and agency mandates, documents, policies, protocols and forms, implementation of laws and regulations, and content expertise. Details about this group are at https://www.americanbar.org/groups/health_law/interest_groups/educational_outreach/military/
Tax Law for Military Initiative
Operated by the Section of Taxation, the Adopt-A-Base program is a partnership of the Section, the armed forces, and the IRS to provide training to military VITA volunteers on bases across the country. The military VITA volunteers are servicemembers who prepare returns for other service members and their families. As part of the Section's commitment to pro bono services for our service members, the Section works to recruit law firms or groups of individuals to adopt a local base to provide this important tax training. For more information, see https://www.americanbar.org/groups/taxation/tax_pro_bono/assist_service_members/
Section of Family Law Military Committee
This group studies issues relating to clients in the military and their families, including procedural issues unique to the military, and custody and visitation, divorce, alimony/support, military pension division and Survivor Benefit Plan issues affecting military divorces. Reviews state and federal legislation and initiatives where ABA policy is affected, and teaches lawyers how to deal with military matters affecting state court legal disputes. Learn more at https://www.americanbar.org/groups/family_law/committees/military/