NEW YORK, Aug. 12, 2017 — The American Bar Association and the law firm Jones Day today announced their partnership in VetLex, a web-based platform that matches attorneys who can provide pro bono legal services with veterans in need of such services. The platform is now available at VetLex.org.
VetLex is open for interested attorneys, law firms and legal organizations to register. By Veterans Day, the platform will be available to accept veterans’ cases and rolled out in key cities and states for pilot operation and testing. The national platform will be fully operational in 2018.
The goal of VetLex (“Vet” for veteran, and “Lex” for law) is to make the process of attorneys finding veteran clients and vice-versa more efficient. VetLex will aid groups in multiple ways:
- For veterans, the VetLex platform provides an online tool for obtaining pro bono counsel for their specific legal needs, including civil, criminal or administrative (benefit claims, for example) matters. It also provides educational information on basic legal concepts, as well as a convenient repository for paperwork (like DD 214s) that are required by various service providers.
- For veteran-serving organizations, VetLex will provide a means by which an expanded number of lawyers can be called upon to assist the veterans these organizations serve.
- For lawyers wishing to represent veterans, Lawyers can sign onto VetLex and create a profile that limits the kinds of cases they are willing to take on. For example, many in-house corporate attorneys have difficulty finding pro bono opportunities because they live and work in a place where they are not members of the local bar. Those attorneys can be trained through VetLex to become accredited with the Department of Veterans Affairs and take on veterans benefit cases. Or an associate at a large firm looking for pro bono opportunities can register with VetLex and take on a family law case, for example.
- For all, VetLex offers information about social service providers who can address issues (e.g., employment, housing, medical, etc.) that often occur in tandem with legal issues. While VetLex may not conduct direct referrals to these “wrap-around” services, it provides a convenient and accessible way for veterans and their counsel to see what other services may exist in their community that would benefit the veteran.
UniteUS, whose software focuses on improving access, collaboration and coordination among entities and who has created other platforms for veterans, is building the platform. To learn more, visit VetLex.org.
With more than 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law