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ABA Military Pro Bono Project 2012 Summer Newsletter: Military Attorneys

Thursday, August 23, 2012

  • ABA Military Pro Bono Project
  • Source: Misc Natonal Sites > ABA Military Pro Bono Project

ABA Military Pro Bono Project
2012 Summer Newsletter
Military Attorneys


The ABA Military Pro Bono Project,, managed by the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel (LAMP), accepts case referrals from military legal assistance offices anywhere in the world on behalf of junior-enlisted servicemembers with civil legal issues, and it places these cases with pro bono attorneys where the legal assistance is needed in the United States. The Project also includes Operation Stand-By, through which military attorneys may seek attorney-to-attorney advice from civilian attorneys to receive guidance to further assist their servicemember clients. 


Thank you for registering with the ABA Military Pro Bono Project to use its case referral system, Operation Stand-By, and website resources to further help our servicemembers! The Project’s success with helping our servicemembers with their legal needs depends on your continued participation.


Case Referrals for Pro Bono Legal Assistance


Since the Project’s establishment in late-2008, it has secured pro bono assistance for over 600 servicemembers and their families in 47 states. Based on case-closing data provided by the Project’s volunteer attorneys, nearly $3 million in billable hours have been donated to our servicemembers. We are proud to report that about half of the case referrals submitted to the Project are approved by the designated supervising military attorneys and successfully placed with volunteer attorneys.

Log onto the Project’s website to learn more about submitting case referrals on behalf of your servicemember clients, and review the Project’s case referral guidelines.

We will be counting on you to refer only the most meritorious and deserving clients. Additionally, the thoroughness of the information submitted with case referrals, the substantive and geographic areas of cases, and other factors can influence how quickly or successfully referred cases will get placed with volunteer attorneys. It is also very important to inform the Project of any case updates while the Project is in the process of searching for a volunteer attorney.


Operation Stand-By:
Seek Attorney-to-Attorney Consultations from Civilian Attorneys


The Project also includes Operation Stand-By, through which you may contact civilian attorneys with legal questions relating to their geographic areas and substantive areas of expertise for attorney-to-attorney advice, so you can receive guidance that will help you further assist your servicemember clients.

In working with your clients, there may be times when you need state-specific legal information, or perhaps a deeper analysis of a legal area with which you are less familiar. For example, due to your client’s unique facts, you may have questions about the proper jurisdiction for your client’s case, whether there is a potential legal remedy for your client’s issue in a certain state, or how a particular remedy in an unfamiliar legal area can be pursued.

On the Operation Stand-By lists, you will find civilian attorneys who can advise you on these issues in a variety of legal areas. The lists are accessible by military attorneys who are registered with the Military Pro Bono Project.

Please note! Clients should not communicate directly with Operation Stand-By volunteers, you may not provide any information on the Operation Stand-By lists to your clients or other individuals, and you may not contact these attorneys to seek pro bono representation for your clients. Please read the Operation Stand-By guidelines.

Thank you to the ABA Section of Family Law Military Committee, which partnered with the Project in the creation of the new Operation Stand-By in 2011.


ABA Home Front:
Legal Resources for Military Families


ABA Home Front is an online resource, on, designed to help military members, veterans, and their families find legal information, referrals, and representation for civil legal matters. The ABA Home Front website includes the following:


Directory of Programs

The Directory of Programs is a national, state-by-state guide to the free and low-cost legal service programs available to assist veterans, servicemembers, and their families with all types of civil legal problems. The Directory features contact information and descriptions for military legal assistance offices, legal aid and pro bono programs, lawyer referral services, and local military-specific programs.


Information Center

The Information Center provides current legal information on a variety of topics affecting military families. The legal content in the Information Center is exclusive to the ABA, adapted from a number of publications issued by ABA entities, and is written in a manner that is easily understood by non-attorney users. The Information Center features short articles on matters of interest to military members, including: (1) considerations when hiring a lawyer; (2) eligibility for free services through military legal assistance offices; (3) family law matters; and (4) legal protections available under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. 


Free Educational Resources on the Project Website 


Project’s Online Library

Did you know that the Project has an online library filled with resources that focus on legal issues faced by servicemembers, veterans, and military family members? Log onto the website and visit the Library.

For example, through the Library, you have free access to a collection of articles from an issue of Clearinghouse Review: Journal of Poverty Law and Policy, which cover a range of legal and practice issues involving veterans and active-duty servicemembers. Have these articles been useful for you? Share any comments about the Clearinghouse Review articles by contacting us at 



Courtesy of the United States Air Force, the Project website provides the following free educational webcasts for its registered members:

  • Servicemembers Civil Relief Act: Update and Practice (2012), presented by Col John S. Odom, Jr., USAF (Ret.). This webinar includes information about the following:
    • SCRA theory v. practice, SCRA practice trends, default judgments, court-appointed attorneys, stay applications, mortgage foreclosures, and child custody
  • Survivor Benefit Plan & Other Benefits, presented by Mark E. Sullivan, COL, USAR (Ret.) and Charles R. Raphun, LTC, USAR. This webinar includes information about the following:
    • Survivor Benefits Plans (SBP) for military retirees’ spouses, former spouses, or children
    • Military medical care for former spouses and children after divorces

The following CLE program may be purchased on the ABA Web Store:

  • Observing the Rights of Service Members in Lending and Foreclosure Matters, presented by David M. Bizar, Paul E. Kantwell, Angela Martin, and Amber R. Standridge. This audio CD-ROM includes the following:
    • The specifics of the SCRA as it pertains to creditors
    • How the mortgage foreclosure crisis has specifically impacted military families
    •  Examples of cases where lenders have failed to observe SCRA rights of military members
    • The work being done by the Department of Justice to enforce the SCRA
    • How the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is working with military families and Lenders to resolve credit matters
    • Advice for lenders’ counsel on best practices when handling issues involving service members


Acknowledge Our Volunteers and Spread the Word!


Salute to Pro Bono!

Did a volunteer attorney, located by the ABA Military Pro Bono Project, help one of your clients with a legal matter? If so, acknowledge and thank a volunteer for his or her pro bono help! Click here for further information and leave a kind testimonial.


Spread the Word about the Project

Over 1,600 attorneys and pro bono coordinators have registered with the Project with an interest in accepting pro bono cases and/or providing advice through Operation Stand-By. However, our volunteer roster must continue to grow so case referrals can be successfully placed with volunteer attorneys throughout the nation. Do you know individuals who might be interested in helping servicemembers with their legal needs—perhaps former colleagues, law school friends, or connections within your community? Please spread the word to your networks about the Project. Encourage them to register on the Project website so they can stay up-to-date about the pro bono opportunities in their areas on behalf of our servicemembers.


Dialogue: Spring and Summer 2012


Read the latest articles in Dialogue—the magazine of the ABA Division for Legal Services, which brings you news and topical information about the delivery of legal services to low and moderate income people—featured by the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel (LAMP):

Would you be interested in writing an article for Dialogue? Review the Dialogue Writers’ Guidelines or contact us at for more information.


Free and Discounted ABA Membership for Military Attorneys


ABA membership delivers resources that help Judge Advocates develop professionally both during their service and as they transition to civilian life.

FREE ABA Membership

Did you know that you are eligible for a free ABA membership if you are currently an active-duty Judge Advocate and have been licensed to practice law for five years or less? See further information about this membership offer!

Membership Discount

For those not eligible for a free membership, the ABA is offering a lower group membership rate for active-duty military lawyers, retired JAG officers, and reservists. Military lawyers can now join at the group rate for only $70 per year and pay individually through the online form.


Useful Books


A Judge’s Benchbook for the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

A Judge’s Benchbook for the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, by Colonel John S. Odom, Jr., USAF, Retired, is designed to acquaint judges of all levels regarding the provisions that protect servicemembers while they serve on active duty, because many judges are unfamiliar with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. The Benchbook is available on the ABA Web Store. Military members can get an additional 20% off through August 31 by using the following code: PABJBS.


The Military Divorce Handbook

The new edition of The Military Divorce Handbook, by Mark E. Sullivan, is a timely and much-needed addition to a family lawyer’s library. Both comprehensive and practical, it covers all aspects of representing servicemembers and their spouses in divorce in an accessible, easy-to-use format. This book is available on the ABA Web Store


ABA Members may purchase these books at discounted prices!


Thank you to the Project’s Star Ranking Supporters!


The ABA Military Pro Bono Project depends on financial contributions from Project partners, law firms, corporations, and individuals to further its mission to connect active-duty servicemembers and their families to attorneys willing to donate their time to deliver high-quality, free legal services. Financial support of the Project, through the American Bar Association Fund for Justice and Education, a 501(c)(3) entity, helps to ensure that our servicemembers receive the legal help that they need.

Special thanks to the following Star Ranking Supporters:

AM General
General Dynamics
Lockheed Martin
Rockwell Collins

And thank you to all of our Star Ranking Supporters acknowledged on the Project website.



Thanks to PBN Sponsors:

Pro Bono and legal aid attorney resources - Pro Bono Net

Volunteer Profile

Kate Powers is an associate in the litigation department at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. She holds a J.D. from Cornell Law School where she served as a Notes Editor of the Cornell International Law Journal. She currently volunteers with Her Justice in New York. Read More

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