Volunteer Lawyers Reach Out To Veterans

With the war on terrorism officially hitting the ten year mark this week, our country is realizing what sustained combat can do to our troops both physically and emotionally.

The U.S. Army Golden Knights jump started the 27th Annual Army-10 Miler with an aerial demonstration and landing in Washington, D.C. More than 30,000 people participated in the race, supporting Army Morale, Welfare and Recreation, a network of support and leisure services designed to enhance the lives of soldiers and their families. Photo by Staff Sgt. Megan Garcia

Constant deployments affect more than just getting injured. The divorce rate has gone up, Soldiers have missed payments or been charged for being late, tenant and landlord disputes, and “other” legal issues. The need for attorneys can not be underestimated. Soldiers leaving the military are finding that the VA is slow or ignorant in responding to the issues of our service members. Those that go it alone risk losing valuable benefits they are entitled to as a result of service-connected injuries or disabilities.

A group of Houston-based lawyers are trying to reach out to veterans to assist with these issues and more.

The Veterans Legal Initiative is funded with a grant from the Texas Access to Justice Foundation. Scofield says volunteer lawyers from around the region will be trained on legal issues facing veterans. They’ll hold clinics in smaller communities, using the Houston legal clinic as a model.

“It’s really a one-on-one counseling session which occurs face-to-face. And we feel like that connection that’s made really offers a much better service to the veteran rather than by doing it by letter, telephone, things of that nature.”

And Scofield says much of their work focuses on veterans who have complex cases involving disability payments.

“Often they provide very complicated fact patterns with an entire tangled bureaucracy of different steps in the process that a veteran needs to be able to work his or her way through. We provide lawyers, who have specialties in that practice area, who can help the veteran make their way through the system.”

For more information, check out either the Houston Lawyer Referral Service or Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program. Read the entire story (with link) here.

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