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ABA Military Pro Bono Project - 2014 Winter Newsletter - Volunteer Attorneys

Thursday, February 20, 2014

  • 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
2014 Winter Newsletter
Pro Bono 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 attorneys may volunteer to provide lawyer-to-lawyer consultations to military attorneys.

Read the latest information about the following:

Accepting Pro Bono Cases to Help our Military Families

Thank you for registering with the Military Pro Bono Project and for your interest in helping our military families receive the legal assistance that they need. The Project’s ongoing success depends on your continued participation. In 2013, the Project successfully placed over 200 pro bono cases with volunteer attorneys and pro bono coordinators like you. Based on case-closing data provided by all of you who participated, over 4,300 billable hours of pro bono service for our servicemembers, valued at over $1.2 million, were donated in 2013. Thank you!

Read some of the case stories to see how our volunteers are successfully helping our military families.

Are you receiving the Military Pro Bono Project’s weekly case opportunities email? If not, please sign up! You can also explore pro bono case opportunities under the website’s For Volunteer Attorneys tab, which is updated daily. Please also help by encouraging your colleagues and legal networks to register on the Project website so they can stay up-to-date about the pro bono opportunities in their areas.

Special thanks to the recipients of the 2013 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

Through the Military Pro Bono Project’s Operation Stand-By, you may offer to provide attorney-to-attorney guidance to military attorneys so they can further assist their servicemember clients. Thanks to those of you who have joined and are participating!

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

Joining Operation Stand-By gives you the opportunity to help our servicemembers with a very small time commitment, as participation with Operation Stand-By in itself does not entail pro bono representation. Rather, you will potentially receive short calls or emails from JAGs in need of attorney-to-attorney guidance relating to your areas of expertise. Military attorneys registered with the Project will find your contact information and areas of expertise on a password-secured list on the Project website.

Sign up to join Operation Stand–By. Log onto the Project website to update your profile and join Operation Stand–By (in your profile, click on "I am registering to join the Project's Operation Stand–By").

Already signed up with Operation Stand–By? Please log onto the Project website to review your profile. Please make sure that your contact information and substantive legal areas of interest are accurate and up–to–date.

While the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) works to process claims for a record number of veterans each year, it is experiencing an unprecedented increase in the number of claims from veterans, and many of our nation's veterans—who have been wounded and disabled as a result of their military service—must wait too long to receive the compensation benefits they have earned and deserve.

You, as a lawyer, can help veterans receive their benefits, by helping veterans submit correct evidence to substantiate their claims for VA disability benefits. The American Bar Association is currently establishing a new program—Veterans’ Claims Assistance Network (VCAN). In close coordination with the VA, VCAN will connect veterans currently in the backlog with the opportunity to work with VA accredited lawyers who will help the veterans complete their claims packages for expedited review by the VA—at no cost to the veteran. VCAN will initially launch as a pilot program, focusing on unrepresented veterans with pending claims in VA Regional Offices in Chicago, Illinois, and St. Petersburg, Florida.

This new initiative is currently in its establishment phase, but you may sign up to join our volunteer roster.When our case referral system launches in the coming months, you will receive further information about assisting our veterans. Please visit our Q&A page for further information and how you can first obtain the required VA accreditation.

Educational Resources

Upcoming Live CLE Programs

  • Webinar – February 25, 2014: The ABA is hosting a 90-minute live CLE webinar, Dependent Support Regulations of the U.S. Armed Forces,on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 12 p.m. CST. This presentation will be of interest and utility to all family law practitioners whose clients include active duty servicemembers or their families. It will address the mechanism by which estranged civilian spouses and their children can obtain financial support through the armed forces. Register!
  • Quantico, VA – March 6, 2014: The ABA Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel (LAMP) is hosting a FREE CLE program at the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Virginia on Thursday, March 6, 2014 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. EST. This CLE program will focus on a broad spectrum of family law issues affecting military personnel, veterans, and their families. There will also be a presentation covering the latest developments in the military services’ response to sexual assault. Register!

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.

Useful Books

The men and women in uniform who risk their lives to defend our nation are targeted by certain types of sales, scams and abusive commercial practices with appalling frequency. They deserve better. This book, Ripped Off!, is an important tool to ensure that our military personnel are educated about these scams so that rip offs can be recognized and prevented. Written by Michael S. Archer, a retired Major in the US Marine Corps, this book is accessible to a wide audience that includes servicemembers, superior officers, military legal assistance attorneys and other lawyers, as well as military and civilian authorities. This book is available on the ABA Web Store.


American Bar Association Legal Guide for Military Families is the complete resource for servicemembers, veterans, and their families. This guide will help all servicemembers clarify their legal issues, understand the options, and locate assistance. Topics are presented in an easy-to-read format and every chapter includes a resources section with phone numbers, websites, and contacts to help servicemembers find answers and move forward. This book is available on the ABA Web Store.


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!

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.

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.

Financial Support to the Military Pro Bono Project

You have registered with the Project because you are interested in helping our servicemembers who make large sacrifices for our country. However, maybe you have not yet been able to provide pro bono help to our servicemembers. We understand that it is sometimes difficult to add pro bono cases into your already busy schedules. Or, perhaps you have not yet seen a case opportunity through the Project in your geographic or substantive area. Please consider helping our military families by providing financial support to the Project.

Visit to donate. Your financial support of the Project, through the American Bar Association Fund for Justice and Education, a 501(c)(3) entity, will help to ensure that our servicemembers receive the legal help that they need.

Learn how you, your firm, or your company can become a Star Ranking Supporter by visiting the Project website or contacting the Project Director, Mary Meixner, at or 312.988.5783.

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.

Special thanks to the following Star Ranking Supporters:

Five Stars
ABA Logo
Five Stars
Lockheed Martin
Mr. and Mrs. David C. Merjan

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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