Pro Bono

ABA is looking for a few good lawyers to help members of the military

The ABA is looking for a few good lawyers to help the many good members of the military. An initiative announced in August by the association, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Legal Services Corp. will provide pro bono legal assistance to military veterans.

Launching as a pilot program in Chicago and St. Petersburg, Fla., the initiative is recruiting lawyers to help veterans prepare their claims with the VA for disability pay. Currently, many veterans go unrepresented while trying to prepare their claims. Under the program, veterans with claims pending may choose whether to accept pro bono assistance from a lawyer.

“Right now, it’s taking far too long for veterans to get their disability claims resolved, and part of the reason is the length of time it takes to develop claims,” says Will A. Gunn, general counsel to the Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA has set a goal of eliminating the current backlog of claims for disability pay by 2015.

The ABA is creating the Veterans’ Claims Assistance Network, through which lawyers will receive training and be matched with vets. Lawyers at offices that receive federal funding through the LSC also will provide free assistance to veterans. Lawyers can sign up online through the ABA’s Military Pro Bono Center.

“The ABA is proud to take the lead in connecting veterans with pro bono attorneys who will help them receive the aid our nation owes them for their selfless courage,” then-ABA President Laurel G. Bellows said in a news release. “We hope that our initial focus on Chicago and St. Petersburg can swiftly be expanded across the nation.”

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