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After the Bar

Public Service

Military and Veteran Pro Bono Opportunities with the ABA

Aaron Ernest Brown

Military and Veteran Pro Bono Opportunities with the ABA Zigic

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Community service can be accomplished in many ways—volunteering at a local library, providing assistance at a food drive, or even offering time at an animal shelter. Regardless of the avenue, community service is commonly understood as active engagement with the community to provide a lasting and positive impact on society. Many can agree that veterans and those currently serving are among the most deserving in our communities.

Veterans and active service members have faced various obstacles and hardships inherent to their service. Unpredictable events such as deployments, lengthy field exercises, and various duty locations have greatly impacted their lives and made them much more arduous. Unfortunately, with changing laws and familial circumstances, there has been an ever-growing need for attorneys to assist this community and their immediate families. Assistance from attorneys (even those recently barred) with substantive experience in family, landlord-tenant, immigration, and consumer law is needed, though it is not limited to those areas. The American Bar Association (ABA) has made it very easy to get involved

ABA Military Pro Bono Project

The ABA Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel (LAMP) manages the ABA Military Pro Bono Project. The project accepts case referrals from military attorneys on behalf of junior-enlisted, active-duty military personnel facing civil legal issues and places these cases with pro bono attorneys. The project is also the platform for Operation Stand-By, which allows military attorneys and pro bono attorneys to seek attorney-to-attorney guidance to assist respective clientele further. Attorneys can register to receive periodic calls or emails from military counsel seeking wisdom on unique matters.

As a Judge Advocate who has had to cold-call local attorneys for state-specific information, I can attest to the value of this program. Attorneys interested in either the Military Pro Bono Project or Operation Stand By should register. You will receive emails to stay up-to-date about pro bono case opportunities in your geographic area and within your substantive legal areas of expertise.

ABA Free Legal Answers for Veterans

ABA Free Legal Answers lets users ask state-specific civil legal questions to volunteer attorneys. This program has recently expanded to allow attorneys to answer veterans’ federal questions. Attorneys with Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) accreditation may provide legal advice on VA benefits, discharge upgrades, and similar veteran issues.

ABA Home Front

The ABA Home Front is an online directory that provides information on resources and programs specializing in helping military families. This particular website also contains easy-to-understand information about various legal issues faced by military families and veterans. Interested attorneys can look at the directory to find local pro bono organizations and opportunities in their community.

Your knowledge and experience may be the missing puzzle piece to help a community member get back on even footing. As an active duty Judge Advocate for the Army, I have had numerous opportunities to serve this community as a part of my service and as a volunteer. In each case, I have benefitted from the ABA’s resources, mentorship, and guidance.

The ABA provides a broad array of resources, tools, and pro bono opportunities for attorneys, regardless of individual practice areas or skill sets. Service on committees (such as LAMP) has provided me with opportunities to give back and connected me to a robust collegial network that has offered consultancy and tutelage. Their experience and expertise enhanced my professional development and enabled me to give back to those who have given so much. Whether you are a seasoned attorney or new to the profession, the ABA has made it easy to step in and serve.

The ABA Military Pro Bono Project—managed by the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel (LAMP)—accepts case referrals from military attorneys on behalf of junior-enlisted, active-duty military personnel facing civil legal issues, and it works to place these cases with pro bono attorneys. The Project is also the platform for Operation Stand-By, through which military attorneys and other pro bono attorneys may seek attorney-to-attorney guidance.