Tuesday, December 2, 2008

West Virginia Legal Assistance to Military Personnel

The West Virginia legal community offers a variety of resources to provide legal assistance to military personnel.

For the Warrior Community

  • Active duty service members may wish to go first to Armed Forces Legal Assistance's nice online database to "locate active duty legal activities offering general legal services within the continental United States". A query for the state of West Virginia is here
  • The Findlaw website has a city-by-city list of lawyers interested in representing active-duty military personnel, military reservists, and veterans here.
  • Legal Aid of West Virginia provides free advocacy services to West Virginians; local troops & families might be eligible as anyone else, subject to the program's limits: http://www.lawv.net/Home/PublicWeb/About

For Lawyers

There is an immediate need for lawyer-volunteers at a June 6 readiness event at Camp Dawson, to help the 363rd Military Police Company prepare for deployment. Contact Matt Thorne at matthew.t.thorn@gmail.com ASAP. See More information here.

In 2007, the West Virginia State Bar created a Veterans and Military Affairs Committee (see http://www.wvbar.org/BARINFO/lawyer/2007/julyaug2007.pdf) As Bar President Steven Johnton Knopp announced:
"...I will take action to add a Standing Committee to
deal with Veterans and Military issues. Many of us are veterans
or are related or know veterans and their families. I know that
we can do more to help those veteran and military families both
within and without the State Bar in and with their legal prob-
The committee has a solid roster but (as anyone who has served on one can testify) these committees do often take some time to really get rolling.
In the meantime, WVBAR is listed on the ABA's LAMP directory as having free one on one to reservists and families. It is possible that this refers to some services not specifically directed at troops & families, but potentially of assistance. Notable is WVBAR's Lawyer Information Service, a program to provide basic legal information to citizens throughout West Virginia. Every Tuesday evening from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., lawyers volunteer their time to answer questions that are presented by men and women throughout West Virginia on a toll free telephone line - 1-800-642-3617. The lawyers listen to the citizens’ comments and provide general basic legal information. Please see http://www.wvbar.org/BARINFO/services/lis.asp  - no doubt they will need volunteers as do most such programs.
WVBAR also has a Lawyer Referral Service; per its website:
"...All lawyers participating in the Lawyer Referral Service have agreed to provide a consultation of up to 1/2 hour for a fee of no more than $25 which should be paid at the time of the consultation. Any further fees or retainers will be charged at the attorney's regular rate. If citizens can not afford an attorney, they may wish to contact Legal Aid of WV..."

West Virginia State Bar Association

WVSBA is a voluntary, private association of lawyers and associates, to be distinguished from the West Virginia State Bar. I didn't find anything relevant to servicemembers on its site, but things may have been added later. See http://www.wvbarassociation.org .

1 comment:

Matthew said...

Actually, we need as many lawyers that are willing to travel to the unit on June 6th to finish the work for the unit that is preparing to deploy. If there is anyone interested, please have them email me at matthew.t.thorn@gmail.com for more information.