Born out of the BBA’s groundbreaking Task Force on Legal Services for Military Personnel, Veterans and their Families, the BBA’s Delivery of Legal Services (DLS) Section has officially launched the Military & Veterans Pro Bono Project. The program fulfills a previously unmet need while providing valuable training to BBA lawyers about service men and women’s rights. The program was developed by the DLS Active Duty Military, Family Members & Veterans Committee in cooperation with Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP), Legal Advocacy & Resource Center (LARC) and Shelter Legal Services.
“This program will provide essential services to veterans whose legal needs are uniquely impacted by their military service,” said Anna M. Schleelein, Esq.
Veterans Program Director at Shelter Legal Services. “This initiative comes at a critical time as more and more Massachusetts veterans are deploying or returning from conflicts overseas. Shelter Legal Services is excited to be working with the BBA and its members to make much needed advocacy more widely available to those who have served our country and deserve our support.”
LARC is now operating a dedicated line to conduct intake for the program and will be referring the callers to VLP, Shelter Legal Services and the BBA Lawyer Referral Service based on income guidelines. Beginning in January, the phone line will be staffed by a law student who has served in the military and who will be uniquely suited to handle the calls.
“The eager participation of the Sections of the Boston Bar Association has been critical in this project,” said Lynn Girton, DLS Section Co-Chair and Chief Counsel at VLP. “The Sections, and particularly their pro bono committees, have quickly and efficiently responded to requests for staffing the Yellow Ribbon events and organizing appropriate trainings to recruit pro bono volunteers. The project provides a valuable model of a successful BBA and Legal Services partnership.”
The BBA’s continuing role in the program will be to recruit and train volunteers to take on pro bono cases for veterans’ and military personnel who otherwise wouldn’t have access to legal help. The DLS Active Duty Military, Family Members & Veterans Committee will also continue to act as an advisory group for the Project.
LARC & Shelter Legal Services receive financial support from the Boston Bar Foundation.