Why is it important for the BBA and lawyers as a community to give back to veterans, military personnel and their families?

On Thursday, November 21st, the BBA will host its final CLE program in its Representing Military Personnel and Veterans series. With the new Military Help Line, the BBA's involvement in the Yellow Ribbon Project and the Massachusetts "Stand Down" event, the BBA is committed to helping veterans and military personnel with the legal challenges they face.

With this upcoming event in mind, BBA Week reached out to BBA members and asked:

"Why is it important for the BBA and lawyers as a community to give back to veterans, military personnel and their families?"

If you would like to respond to a future Voices of the Bar, make sure you send a headshot, and contact Eric Fullerton at efullerton@bostonbar.org.

Judge George Phelan - Norfolk Probate and Family Court
"Military deployment often involves sudden terror and mayhem which burn indelible images. Some of us can compartmentalize, then go on with our lives. Others bring home that experience which metastasizes and infects spouses and children. This cost of war is not easily understood but it works its way into our courtrooms and probation offices in the form of broken laws and broken families. Those who serve the public, in the great Rule of Law institutions in our Commonwealth, need to know more about the human cost of war. Most of the American public see our service members only in the media. Get to know a veteran, up close and personal."

Peter Shapland - Day Pitney LLP
"I was in high school and college during the height of the conflict in Vietnam, and I recall well how little respect and support my contemporaries received from those protesting that war at home, including me. By participating in Yellow Ribbon and other programs that assist the latest generation of Americans soldiers, I can show my respect for their service. But, in a selfish way, it also helps me feel a bit less guilty about my lack of respect all those years ago."

Nina Parker - Parker and Associates
"Military members, veterans and their families have contributed so much to their country and have asked for very little in return. It is important for lawyers to repay that contribution by delivering legal services in a compassionate and considerate manner in an effort to reduce or alleviate the anxiety and stress that unanswered legal questions or concerns cause the veteran and their family members. They have already navigated the military - we should not leave them to navigate the legal system alone."

Paul Lannon - Holland & Knight LLP
"Our soldiers put everything on the line for our community, and our community needs to support them any way we can. Lawyers can support our troops through the BBA by providing legal advice and representation to soldiers and their families in need. Yellow Ribbon events are an effective means of connecting soldiers to the lawyers who can help them.

Michelle Wolf - Veterans' Disability Benefits
"We all owe a duty to those who have volunteered to serve and protect our country, especially with the growing recognition of the toll military service takes on our soldiers, veterans and their families. Lawyers can truly make a difference in the lives of these individuals and families by assisting with legal issues that might otherwise distract soldiers currently serving, and by ensuring that our injured veterans are adequately and promptly compensated for their service-connected conditions."

Nicholas Bentley - Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
"Massachusetts landlord/tenant law offers a number of protections to veterans and their families that aren't available in other states. The legal community provides a critical role by informing veterans of their rights and fighting to enforce those rights. Taking a pro bono case or volunteering at a veterans' clinic are just some of the small ways we can show our appreciation for the sacrifices they've made."

Cameron Casey - Ropes & Gray LLP
"The BBA's Military and Veterans Initiative has given many of us in the bar the opportunity to provide veterans and their families with much needed legal assistance. BBA volunteers have offered family law advice, bankruptcy counseling, and pre-deployment estate planning, among many other services, to veterans and service members, whose legal issues are often closely related to their military service. My contributions to the Veterans Initiative project have been modest in relation to the great contributions and sacrifices these service members and their families have made to protect our country. I am honored to have had the chance to do even a little bit to help, though, and I am thrilled that the BBA continues to support this important initiative."