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April 15, 2022


5 Ways the ABA Is Helping Servicemembers and Veterans - and How You Can Get Involved

Our country's active-duty servicemembers frequently face a variety of civil legal challenges that can have a detrimental impact on military readiness, and many veterans face unique legal problems relating to veterans benefits and discharge upgrades that affect health, housing, and financial stability.

Understanding these challenges, the ABA supports access to justice for military personnel, veterans, and their families through a variety of efforts and opportunities. Learn about what the ABA provides, along with how attorneys can get involved to give back to servicemembers and veterans.

(1)    Pro Bono Initiatives

The ABA Military Pro Bono Project, an online program, accepts civil case referrals from military legal assistance attorneys worldwide, and works to connect the referred servicemembers with pro bono civilian attorneys where needed in the United States. Attorneys can volunteer to accept a case to assist a servicemember with a civil legal issue, such as a family law matter, creditor and consumer issue, landlord-tenant matter, or other legal cases. Sign up to stay updated about available pro bono case opportunities on

ABA Free Legal Answers - which is a virtual legal advice portal where income-eligible individuals can ask civil legal questions - offers an opportunity for veterans to ask veteran-related legal questions. On the ABA Free Legal Answers' federal site, attorneys accredited with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) can sign up to volunteer to answer veterans' online questions about VA benefits, discharge upgrades, and similar veterans' legal issues. Visit the ABA Free Legal Answers for Veterans site to learn more.

(2)     Education for Attorneys

For attorneys participating in these ABA pro bono initiatives, the ABA offers a resource called Operation Stand-By. Through this, hundreds of civilian attorneys have volunteered to be on "standby" to receive calls or emails from military attorneys and other pro bono attorneys to provide lawyer-to-lawyer guidance, so they can better help their military and veteran clients.

The ABA also helps educate attorneys about the legal protections and benefits for servicemembers and veterans through laws such as the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), along with benefits from the VA. To learn more, attorneys can find military and veteran-related CLE and webinar opportunities on the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel's Events and CLE page and the ABA’s CLE Marketplace.

(3)    Supporting Community Efforts

The ABA also supports state and local legal programs that assist veterans and their families. In 2020, the ABA created a new Veterans Legal Assistance Grant program - funded through the ABA Fund for Justice and Education - which accepts grant applications from nonprofit organizations that deliver legal services to veterans. In the first two years of this grant program’s operations, a total of six organizations received grants from the ABA, ranging from $40,000 to $20,000, to expand the delivery of legal services to veterans within the grantees' communities. Learn more about this program on this website.

(4)    Committee Goals

The ABA has several entities that focus on helping develop programs, education, and policy to improve access to justice for servicemembers, veterans, and their families. A few of these ABA entities include: the Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel; Commission on Homelessness and Poverty's Veterans Justice Initiative; Section of Family Law Military Committee; Health Law Section's Military and Veterans Health Law Interest Group; Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division's Military Lawyers Committee; Section of Taxation's Adopt-A-Base program; and others. Visit the ABA Military & Veteran Legal Center page to find more.

Learn how you can join ABA Member Groups or submit nominations for appointments to be further involved with ABA Standing Committees, Special Committees, Commissions, and other Association entities.

(5)    Resources for Servicemembers and Veterans

Through the ABA Military & Veteran Legal Center website, veterans and servicemembers can locate useful resources that provide guidance on resolving legal problems, along with obtaining legal assistance. For attorneys, this is also a helpful tool to find recommendations to share with military personnel and veterans. This website provides a Directory of Legal Programs of state and local legal organizations, including contact information for legal aid and pro bono programs, lawyer referral programs, and local military and veteran-specific legal programs. This resource also includes an Information Center that features easy-to-understand information about a variety of legal issues faced by military families and veterans.

Recognizing the sacrifices that servicemembers and veterans have made on behalf of us all, consider getting involved with these ABA opportunities.