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ABA Military Pro Bono Project 2013 Winter Newsletter: Military Attorneys

Thursday, February 28, 2013

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

ABA Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel

ABA Military Pro Bono Project
2013 Winter 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 Participating with the ABA Military Pro Bono Project!

Thank you for registering with the Project to use its case referral system, Operation Stand–By, and website resources to further help our military families receive the legal assistance that they need. The Project's ongoing success depends on your continued participation.

Pro Bono Legal Assistance

In 2012, the Project successfully placed over 200 pro bono cases with volunteer attorneys! Based on case–closing data provided by the Project's volunteer attorneys, about 4,000 billable hours of pro bono service for our servicemembers, valued at over $1 million, were donated in 2012. Read some of the success stories.

Log onto the Project's website to learn more about submitting case referrals on behalf of your servicemember clients, and review the Project's 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 and successfully referred cases will get placed with volunteer attorneys. It also is very important to inform the Project of any case updates while the Project is in the process of searching for a volunteer attorney. With your help, we are proud to report that over half of the case referrals submitted to the Project are approved by the designated supervising military attorneys and successfully placed with volunteer attorneys.

Special thanks to the recipients of the 2012 ABA Military Pro Bono Project Outstanding Services Award, from the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel (LAMP), for their extraordinary pro bono services through the Project.

Operation Stand–By

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.

For instance, are you aware of the importance for military families with special needs children to consider creating supplemental needs trusts? Over 40 attorneys who are members of the Special Needs Alliance across the nation are registered with Operation Stand–By to answer your questions about legal issues that military families may face with special needs children.

Attorneys are eager to help! Since the creation of the Project's Operation Stand–By in 2011, over 450 civilian attorneys across the nation have registered to participate. However, information from a recent survey indicates that approximately 68% of the civilian attorneys who are registered with Operation Stand–By would like to be contacted more frequently by military attorneys who need attorney–to–attorney guidance.

Please note the guidelines! The Operation Stand–By lists are accessible by military attorneys who are registered with the Military Pro Bono Project. Clients should not communicate directly with Operation Stand–By volunteers, you may not provide any information from 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.

Description: ABA%20Home%20Front2

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.

Educational Resources

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.

Free Webcasts

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.).
  • Survivor Benefit Plan & Other Benefits, presented by Mark E. Sullivan, COL, USAR (Ret.) and Charles R. Raphun, LTC, USAR.

CLE Programs

The ABA Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel (LAMP) is hosting a FREE CLE program at the Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego on April 11:

  • An educational program for lawyers on current developments on the use of mediation in military family law cases; bankruptcy and debtor protections and how these may affect military families; a look at the legal issues involved when extending benefits to military personnel with same–sex partners; how to handle property division in military divorce cases; and the military retirement issues that arise in family law. Earn up to five free hours of CLE credit. Register Now!

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.

Useful Books

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.


Description: Sullivan 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!

Dialogue: News and Perspectives from the ABA Division for Legal Services

Read the latest article 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.

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:

Five Stars
ABA Logo
Five Stars
AM General
General Dynamics
Lockheed Martin
Rockwell Collins

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

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You received this email because you have registered as a member of the ABA Military Pro Bono Project. To edit or cancel your membership, log onto and edit your profile. If you have questions, contact the Project Director, Mary C. Meixner, at

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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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