Wednesday, April 30, 2008

DeployMed Research Link

Got a client with a health issue that might be related to a deployment - but not sure about the state of the science?

DeployMed ResearchLINK, was established as part of FHP&R's Health Science and Force Optimization (HS&FO) mission to inform Service members, researchers & health care providers, leaders, and interested others about DoD and other federally funded research on deployment-related health issues.

DeployMed ResearchLINK presents information on deployment medical research conducted and supported by federal research programs within DoD, VA, and HHS. The purpose of this web site is to be a central resource of information on federally funded medical research related to deployments from the 1990-91 Gulf War forward.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Federal Department of Veterans Affairs

This may seem obvious, but, if you're dealing with a veteran, or a veteran's familymember (e.g. surviving spouse) a good first place to look is the website of the federal Department of Veterans Affairs: For a quick introduction, with links, see:
"Veterans of the United States armed forces may be eligible for a broad range of programs and services provided by the federal Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). These benefits are legislated in Title 38 of the United States Code.
Eligibility for most VA benefits is based upon discharge from active military service under other than dishonorable conditions. Active service means full-time service, other than active duty for training, as a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, or as a commissioned officer of the Public Health Service, Environmental Science Services Administration or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or its predecessor, the Coast and Geodetic Survey. Generally, men and women veterans with similar service may be entitled to the same VA benefits.

There's a lot more, and it's worth digging through. Some items of note:
In addition, most or all states, and some counties, also have Departments of Veterans Affairs, with programs aimed at the particular needs of the local community.

The Three Jarheads

And for a change in pace ... a little fun from

"The Three Jarheads are three former Marine comedians, sharing their experiences of going into, going through and transitioning out of the Marine Corps, back into "society".

No political, pro-war/anti-war, opinionated B.S. Just three Marines on a mission to empower and support any and all military personnel, their families, friends with comedy that comes straight from the heart."

The Three Jarheads are Dave Bothun, Ellis Rodriguez and "Big" Al Rameriez. Here's a sample of their work:


... we now return you to serious legal stuff...

digg this story

Sunday, April 27, 2008

AFLA - Armed Forces Legal Assistance Web site

The Armed Forces Legal Assistance (AFLA) Web site provides general legal information to the military community. It's a joint project of the several Armed Forces legal assistance offices.

Its resources include:
  • Legal Services Locator: This shows you active duty legal activities offering general legal services within the continental United States
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Armed Forces Legal Assistance: This covers topics such as What type of services can a legal assistance office provide? What about confidentiality?, and Who is eligible?
  • Legal Assistance Topics: This includes general information on a wide range of legal topics, from Automobiles and Banking to Voting and Wills.

Per the website: "The Armed Forces Judge Advocate Generals' Corps who maintain this site is comprised of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard Judge Advocate Generals' Corps. The Legal Assistance divisions of all of the services maintain this legal assistance site in a joint effort to provide the best information for our men and women of the armed forces and their families. It is an honor and privilege to serve members of the armed forces and your families, helping to protect those who protect us each day.
It is our intention to provide you a general overview of legal assistance topics, information as well as a link to allow you to locate the legal assistance office nearest you to consult with a legal assistance attorney. Legal Assistance attorneys worldwide provide comprehensive legal support to our global military community in he areas of wills and estate planning, Powers of Attorney, family law, state and Federal Taxation, immigration and naturalization, consumer law, and your rights under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act."

Friday, April 25, 2008

Separation Because of Personality Disorder

From "How Specialist Town Lost His Benefits" by Joshua Kors

"Jon Town ... was standing in the doorway of his battalion's headquarters when a 107-millimeter rocket struck two feet above his head....Eventually the rocket shrapnel was removed from Town's neck and his ears stopped leaking blood. But his hearing never really recovered, and in many ways, neither has his life. A soldier honored twelve times during his seven years in uniform, Town has spent the last three struggling with deafness, memory failure and depression. By September 2006 he and the Army agreed he was no longer combat-ready.

But instead of sending Town to a medical board and discharging him because of his injuries, doctors at Fort Carson, Colorado, did something strange: They claimed Town's wounds were actually caused by a "personality disorder." Town was then booted from the Army and told that under a personality disorder discharge, he would never receive disability or medical benefits....

"In the Army's separations manual it's called Regulation 635-200, Chapter 5-13: "Separation Because of Personality Disorder." It's an alluring choice for a cash-strapped military because enacting it is quick and cheap. The Department of Veterans Affairs doesn't have to provide medical care to soldiers dismissed with personality disorder. That's because under Chapter 5-13, personality disorder is a pre-existing condition. The VA is only required to treat wounds sustained during service.

Soldiers discharged under 5-13 can't collect disability pay either. To receive those benefits, a soldier must be evaluated by a medical board, which must confirm that he is wounded and that his wounds stem from combat. The process takes several months, in contrast with a 5-13 discharge, which can be wrapped up in a few days.

If a soldier dismissed under 5-13 hasn't served out his contract, he has to give back a slice of his re-enlistment bonus as well. That amount is often larger than the soldier's final paycheck. As a result, on the day of their discharge, many injured vets learn that they owe the Army several thousand dollars.

One military official says doctors at his base are doing more than withholding this information from wounded soldiers; they're actually telling them the opposite: that if they go along with a 5-13, they'll get to keep their bonus and receive disability and medical benefits. The official, who demanded anonymity, handles discharge papers at a prominent Army facility. He says the soldiers he works with know they don't have a personality disorder. "But the doctors are telling them, this will get you out quicker, and the VA will take care of you. To stay out of Iraq, a soldier will take that in a heartbeat. What they don't realize is, those things are lies. The soldiers, they don't read the fine print," he says. "They don't know to ask for a med board. They're taking the word of the doctors. Then they sit down with me and find out what a 5-13 really means--they're shocked."

In the last six years the Army has diagnosed and discharged more than 5,600 soldiers because of personality disorder, according to the Defense Department. And the numbers keep rising: 805 cases in 2001, 980 cases in 2003, 1,086 from January to November 2006...."


Thursday, April 24, 2008

110th Congress Legislation: Homeless Veterans

In The House of Representatives

H.R. 2874, Veterans Health Care Improvement Act of 2007

Introduced by: Michael Michaud (D-ME)
Referred to: Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs
Action: Passed House July 30, 2007 (voice vote)
  • Expands and extend authority for the Incarcerated Veterans’ Transition Program (IVTP), a joint DOL and VA initiative authorized by Congress to assist incarcerated veterans in their reentry to the community.
  • Authorizes the VA to make financial assistance available to nonprofit organizations to facilitate their provision of supportive services for very low-income veterans in permanent housing.
  • Provides for permanent authority for domiciliary services for homeless veterans and enhances the VA’s capacity to provide domiciliary care for women veterans.
  • Reduces from 60 to 30 the number of days required for homeless veterans to be enrolled for and receive care in a VA program in order to be eligible for dental services.

More Information:

H.R. 3329, Homes for Heroes Act of 2007

Introduced by: Al Green (D-TX)
Referred to: House Committee on Financial Services
Action: House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity conducted a hearing on Affordable Housing needs of America’s Low Income Veterans on December 5, 2007; H.R. 3329 was discussed during the hearing.
  • Would establish a supportive housing program for very low-income veterans, with housing assistance financed by HUD and supportive services financed by VA.

More Information:

H.R. 4161, Veterans Homelessness Prevention Act

Introduced by: Al Green (D-TX)
Referred to: House Financial Services and House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health
Action: In Committee
  • Would authorize a pilot housing program within the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development with the goal of preventing at-risk veterans and veterans’ families from falling into homelessness.

More Information:

In The Senate

S. 1084, Homes for Heroes Act of 2007

Introduced by: Barack Obama (D-IL)
Referred to: Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs
Action: In Committee
  • Would establish a supportive housing program for very low-income veterans, with housing assistance financed by HUD and supportive services financed by VA.
More Information:

S. 1233, Veterans Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitation Act of 2007

Introduced by: Daniel Akaka (D-HI)
Referred to: Senate Veterans Affairs Committee
Action: Reported out of Committee in July. Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders
  • Expands and extend authority for the Incarcerated Veterans’ Transition Program (IVTP), a joint DOL and VA initiative authorized by Congress to assist incarcerated veterans in their reentry to the community.
  • Authorizes the VA to make financial assistance available to nonprofit organizations to facilitate their provision of supportive services for very low-income veterans in permanent housing.
  • Provides for permanent authority for domiciliary services for homeless veterans and enhance the VA’s capacity to provide domiciliary care for women veterans.
  • Repeals authority for adjustments to per diem payments to homeless veteran service centers for receipt of other sources of income.
  • Makes grant funds available to maintain adequate staffing for services in homeless veteran service centers.
  • Requires VA to conduct a demonstration program to identify veterans at risk of becoming homeless after discharge or separation from the armed services and provides referral and counseling services to help prevent such veterans from becoming homeless.

More Information:

S. 2273, Enhanced Opportunities for Formerly Homeless Veterans Residing in Permanent Housing Act of 2007

Introduced by: Daniel Akaka (D-HI)
Referred to: Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs
Action: In Committee
  • To enhance the functioning and integration of formerly homeless veterans who reside in permanent housing.

More Information:

S. 2330, Veterans Homelessness Prevention Act

Introduced by: Barack Obama (D-IL)
Referred to: Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs
Action: In Committee
  • Would authorize a pilot housing program within the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development with the goal of preventing at-risk veterans and veterans’ families from falling into homelessness.

More Information:
Kudos to National Coalition for Homeless Veterans for this list, to which I've added some information

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

VA Lawsuit Trial Starts

Veterans For Common Sense et al. v. Nicholson, Case No. C 07 3758, U.S.D.C. (N.D. Cal. 2007)" goes to trial this week.

You may access the primary court-filed documents at (no password or registration required) or, if you have a PACER account, you can get the complete docket & documents at the United States District Court for the Northern District of California at

This class-action lawsuit concerns whether the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs isn't doing enough to provide adequate medical care for Americans who have served in the armed forces.

Learn more:

According to an AP article (Lawsuit: Veterans Affairs has failed to prevent suicides by Paul Elias):

"An average of 18 military veterans kill themselves each day, and five of them are under VA care when they commit suicide, according to a December e-mail between top VA officials that was filed as part of the federal lawsuit.

"That failure to provide care is manifesting itself in an epidemic of suicides," the veterans groups wrote in court papers filed Thursday.

A study released this week by the RAND Corp. estimates that 300,000 U.S. troops — about 20 percent of those deployed — are suffering from depression or post-traumatic stress from serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"We find that the VA has simply not devoted enough resources," said Gordon Erspamer, the lawyer representing the veterans groups. "They don't have enough psychiatrists."

The lawsuit also alleges that the VA takes too long to pay disability claims and that its internal appellate process unconstitutionally denies veterans their right to take their complaints to court.

The groups are asking U.S. District Court Judge Samuel Conti, a World War II U.S. Army veteran, to order the VA to drastically overhaul its system. Conti is hearing the trial without a jury.

"What I would like to see from the VA is that they actually treat patients with respect," said Bob Handy, head of the Veterans United for Truth, one of the groups suing the agency.

Handy, 76, who retired from the Navy in 1970, said he founded the veterans group in 2004 after hearing myriad complaints from veterans about their treatment at the VA when he was a member of the Veterans Caucus of the state Democratic Party. The department acknowledges in court papers that it takes on average about 180 days to decide whether to approve a disability claim.

"I would just like to see the VA do the honorable thing," said Handy, who is expected to testify during the weeklong trial.

Justice Department spokeswoman Carrie Nelson declined comment Friday.

But government lawyers have filed court papers arguing that the courts have no authority to tell the VA how to operate and no business wading into the everyday management of a sprawling medical network that includes 153 medical centers nationwide.

The veterans are asking the judge "to administer the programs of the second largest Cabinet-level agency, a task for which Congress and the executive branch are better suited," government lawyers wrote in court papers.

If the judge ordered an overhaul, he would be responsible for such things as employees workloads, hours of operations, facility locations, the number of medical professionals employed, and "even the decision whether to offer individual or group therapy to patients with" post-traumatic stress, the papers said.

The VA also said it is besieged with an unprecedented number of claims, which have grown from 675,000 in 2001 to 838,000 in 2007. The rise is prompted not from the current war, but from veterans growing older, government lawyers said.

"The largest component of these new claims is the aging veteran population of the Vietnam and Cold War eras," the government filing stated. "As they age, older veterans may lose employment-related health care, prompting them to seek VA benefits for the first time."

Government lawyers in their filings defended its average claims processing time as "reasonable," given that it has to prove the veterans disability was incurred during service time. They also noted the VA will spend $3.8 billion for fiscal year 2008 on mental health and announced a policy in June that requires all medical centers to have mental health staff available all the time to provide urgent care. They said that "suicide prevention is a singular priority for the VA.""

Monday, April 21, 2008

Protecting the Rights of Service Members - ABA

The America Bar Association's Working Group on Protecting the Rights of Service Members has released a comprehensive review of education, taxation, family law, voting rights, USERRA, SCRA, state law co-ordination, decedent affairs, expanded legal assistance programs (ELAP) and other issues. At over 80 pages, it's well worth a careful review whether as an introduction to the subject matter area or as a guide to further action:

More, similar materials:

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Homeless Veteran Service Providers

This looks like a very useful resources for homeless veterans, or those looking to find help for one:

Actually, it's a good resource for lawyers looking to do a little pro bono. See if there's one near you, and you should be able to make your pro bono target hours easily.

KUDOS to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans for hosting this!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Vietnow Veteran Locator

Vietnow, a family oriented veterans organization, hosts a veteran locator (a moderated forum for veterans looking for old buddies): well as other resources. See:

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Invisible Wounds of War Study - Rand Corporation

The nonprofit research organization RAND released a study of the mental health of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, showing thousands of new veterans aren't getting care for traumatic brain injuries and mental health problems. PTSD and depression among returning troops will cost the nation as much as $6.2 billion in the two years following deployment. Investing in higher quality treatment could save close to $2 billion within two years.

The RAND study
  • Looked at post-deployment needs from post-traumatic stress disorder, major depression, and traumatic brain injury
  • Examined the treatment capacity of the current health care system, and
  • estimated the costs of providing quality health care to all military members who need it.

Details are in Invisible Wounds of War: Psychological and Cognitive Injuries, Their Consequences, and Services to Assist Recovery. See
for this and numerous other studies.

Kudos to Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America for publicizing this here.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Kansas Bar ISO Lawyers to Help Reservists

From the Kansas State Bar website:

"Members Needed to Help Military Personnel

The KBA is seeking members to draft basic wills as well as durable powers of attorney on a pro bono basis for families of reservists who are on alert or called to active duty.

This important community service program aptly named “Project Call Up” was originally initiated during the Desert Storm conflict and was reactivated in 2001 in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

To participate or for more information, please contact Meg Wickham at (785) 234-5696 or via e-mail at You will be glad that you did!"


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

GI Bill 2008

On the legislative front, efforts to modernize the GI Bill press forward against heavy White House opposition.

"The current educational benefits offered to veterans are far lower than the original GI Bill. Today, after paying a nonrefundable contribution from their first military paychecks, troops can receive a total of up to $39,600 towards their education. Unfortunately, this covers only 60-70% of the average cost of four years at a public college or university, or less than two years at a typical private college.

"In addition, structural problems and bureaucratic delays discourage veterans from using their GI Bill benefits. National Guardsmen and Reservists, including those who have served multiple combat tours, typically receive only a fraction of their GI Bill benefits. Moreover, 30% of troops who pay the nonrefundable $1,200 contribution do not end up using the GI Bill at all. These veterans have paid the government $230 million, but received nothing in return.

"Today’s veterans deserve a real reintegration program to help adjust to the civilian world. At the same time, a renewed GI Bill is a practical answer to the military’s troop shortage. Despite investing $4 billion in recruiting annually, the military has had serious problems recruiting high-caliber personnel. The Pentagon has responded by lowering age, education, and aptitude standards for new recruits, as well as upping the number of recruiters and increasing enlistment bonuses. These stopgap measures will not address long-term problems with recruiting, especially as the overall size of the armed forces is expanded.

"Rather than continuing to spend billions in bonuses for lower-standard enlistees, increasing GI Bill benefits would encourage high-aptitude young people to join the military. The GI Bill is the military’s single most effective recruitment tool: the number-one reason civilians join the military is to get money for college. As our military recovers and resets in the coming years, an expanded GI Bill will play a crucial role in ensuring that our military remains the strongest and most advanced in the world."

If you a World War II veteran and a beneficiary of the original GI Bill, or an Iraq or Afghanistan veteran who has had trouble paying for school, you can tell your story here.

Learn More:

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Henderson v. Peake in Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims

Per Paralyzed Veterans of America:

"The [Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims] recently heard oral argument in the case of Henderson v. Peake. The question before the Court was whether it can have jurisdiction over cases where a veteran files his or her Notice of Appeal (NOA) late because of mental or physical disabilities.

"Some courts have permitted late filing in these circumstances under a theory of equitable tolling, but a recent Supreme Court decision, Bowles v. Russell, has made courts question whether such late filings may still be permitted.

"In Bowles, the petitioner was attempting to appeal the denial of a writ of habeas corpus to the Sixth Circuit, through the benefit of 28 U.S.C.A. § 2107(c) (West 2002), which has a specific, limited time period for filing. A judge gave him a deadline that was longer than the statute’s time period, and he filed his petition within the period allowed by the judge but two days later that the period stated in the statute. Finding that the statute’s filing deadlines were mandatory, the Supreme Court held that the Sixth Circuit could not equitably toll the deadline and the filing was therefore late. The Supreme Court also expressly overruled an earlier case that allowed a late filing.

"Paralyzed Veterans submitted a brief as amicus curiae on behalf of Mr. Henderson, arguing that the Supreme Court’s decision has no application to the CAVC’s equitable tolling case law, which is premised on the Supreme Court’s decision in Irwin v. Department of Veterans Affairs, a case which was not mentioned or overruled in the Bowles decision.

"Click here to read Paralyzed Veteran’s amicus curiae brief."

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Survey of Issues Facing Female Veterans

Swords to Plowshares, a veteran non-profit founded by veterans in 1974, is hosting a survey is part of an effort to improve services for female veterans.

Per its website:

"Issues facing female veterans need to be documented. The anonymous answers here will help Swords to Plowshares advocate for policy changes for you and future returning soldiers. Documentation and policy advocacy will lead to more services for our community. ..."

"In response to the increasing number of veterans from the Global War on Terror, we have expanded our services for those returning from Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom through the Iraq Veteran Project."

Consider contributing to the survey at:

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Economic Stimulus Payments for Low-Income Veterans

Per Paralyzed Veterans of America:

"The recently approved economic stimulus package contains a special provision allowing Social Security and veterans benefits to count toward the qualifying income requirement of $3,000 needed to receive the stimulus payment.

Even if a veteran paid no federal income taxes in 2007, the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 provides for payments of $300 ($600 if married filing jointly) as well as an additional payment of $300 for each qualifying child for those who qualify..."

More Information:

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Veterans Benefits Tour

The House Committee on Veterans Affairs offers a web-based Tour of the benefits available to America's veterans and their survivors. It's a nice, non-technical summary that's a great backgrounder and reminder:

(The committee also hosts a variety of other resources, such as periodic webcasts of hearings, and heads-up on legislation. Check it out!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Operation Stand-by

Operation Stand-By is a project of the ABA Family Law Section’s Military Committee.

The volunteers on this list have agreed to take calls, e-mail, or other correspondence from JAG Officers and answer questions about family law issues in their respective jurisdiction. For terms and conditions, contact information or to volunteer to be on the list, see

ALSO: the Military Committee has useful links and hand-outs on its website for military personnel pondering family law issues:

Friday, April 4, 2008

Oregon State Bar Military Assistance Panel

The Oregon bar provides opportunities for attorneys to receive specialized training and offer pro bono services to active duty service members deployed overseas, through its innovative Oregon State Bar Military Assistance Panel.

Initiated in 2003, by Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers, Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace P. Carson, Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the OSB, the program now has over 120 volunteer attorneys. A two-hour online CLE is available to volunteers. PLF coverage for those not otherwise covered is under a special umbrella policy for OSB Certified Pro Bono Programs.


Thursday, April 3, 2008

CLE May 22, 2008: Navigating the Army's Physical Evaluation Board

Come, hear Steve Engle, supervising attorney at Office of Soldiers' Counsel at the Ft. Lewis Physical Evaluation Board, give an overview of the Army's disability evaluation system, tailored toward private practitioners who may wish to consider taking a soldier's case pro bono or on a reduced fee basis.

When: Thursday, May 22, 2008 9:00 - 11:00 a.m.

Where: WSBA Office 1325 Fourth Ave., Ste. 600, Seattle

2.0 general CLE credits pending

Cost: WSBA/LAMP members: Free
Non-Section members: $25
Law students: $8


Note: If you are not currently a LAMP Section member, you would be wise to join the section by going to clicking on "Join" (upper right) and following directions. The price is the SAME as the non-section member price for the event, so be smart and join the section!

The Fund for Veterans Education

The Fund for Veterans’ Education was established by former Navy Lieutenant (now billionaire) Jerome Kohlberg to provide scholarships to veterans from all branches of the United States Armed Forces who served in Afghanistan or Iraq since September 11, 2001 and who are now enrolled in college or vocational-technical school.

According to its website, "Total maximum educational benefit over four years available to veterans who served with active duty units $39,636.; Average four year cost of attending a public university as an in state student $65,428; Average four year cost of a public university as an out of state student $105,216; Average four year cost of a private university $133,204."

Unless and until Congress gets its act together and passes a modern GI Bill, veterans who meet eligibility criteria can apply online for a scholarship:

Persons wishing to help the fund can find contact information at

Do your research, then be generous!

As Chris Moran reports in the San Diego Morning Tribute:

“This is something we owe,” Kohlberg said. Taking care of returning veterans is part of the cost of war as Kohlberg sees it, just like after World War II. Back then, Kohlberg had just finished three years in the Navy, a lieutenant in charge of the stores the U.S. military shopped at in Panama. When he returned, the U.S. government sent nearly 8 million veterans, including him, to school.

Kohlberg the veteran makes the moral argument that Congress needs to restore the compact between the warriors and their government. Kohlberg the capitalist makes an economic argument. The original GI Bill's massive swords-to-plowshares effort converted the world's mightiest military into a nation's middle class.
With the aid of the U.S. government, Kohlberg got a bachelor's degree from Swarthmore College, a master's degree from Harvard Business School and a law degree from Columbia University School of Law. In part because of the help they got from the government, Kohlberg said, his peers got better jobs and spent more money, paid more taxes and assumed more leadership roles in civilian life.

A new GI bill that covers all educational expenses of veterans is a good investment, one he estimates will pay five to 10 times its upfront amount. Kohlberg knows something about investments. As a pioneer of the leveraged buyout, he has amassed a $1.5 billion fortune that according to a Forbes list published this month makes him the world's 785th richest person.

Until Congress agrees to make that investment, Kohlberg will invest on his own.

There is another difference between now and then, Kohlberg said. The current wars have been financed largely by debt, while seemingly everyone in the nation sacrificed for the World War II effort, he said.

Kohlberg said he believes that even those who oppose the Iraq war as he does would agree that the nation must do more to support veterans of that war. “We're lucky we've been just sitting here on our duffs, all of us doing nothing for the war,” Kohlberg said. “We haven't even been asked.”

See full article here:
KUDOS to VA Watchdog for publicizing this program!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Lawyers for Warriors CLE 12/27/2007

Two of the Washington State Bar Association's Sections (World Peace Through Law and Legal Assistance to Military Personnel (LAMP) recorded a Continuing Legal Education program covering basic issues in support of military personnel, veterans and their families. The video and handouts are now available for all.


* In The Civil Justice System : SCRA, USERRA, Family Law, etc
* What Officialdom Can and Can't Do: VA, State and Local efforts, JAG


* Program Schedule and Speakers
* SCRA: Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
o 50 App USC 522 - Stay of Proceedings
* Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)
o USERRA Outline
* Family Law
o Dividing Military Retired Pay by Joan M. Burda and Michael B. Majeski
o Modifications of Custody Cases
o Motion & Declaration re Appointment
o Order re Appointment
o Sample Order Dividing Retired Pay
o Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act: Dividing Military Retired Pay by Garnishment Operations Directorate, Defense Finance and Accounting Service
* The Law Clerk Challenge

About CLE Credit

The Washington State Bar Association's MCLE Board gives the recording of this event

* Recording: 4 AV General Credit, MCLE Event 199212
* Live Event only: 4 General Credit, MCLE Event 192500

Thanks to TVW for recording and hosting this video!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Legal Assistance to Military Personnel (LAMP)

The term Legal Assistance to Military Personnel and its acronym LAMP are how the American legal community denotes civilian lawyers helping out members of our military, veterans and their families. Take advantage of the resources made available through various LAMP groups; if you're a lawyer, join one yourself for networking, information-sharing and leadership opportunities.

Lawyers and non-lawyers alike can find a lot of useful resources on the LAMP page of the various bar associations. Here's a few:
  • The American Bar Association Standing Committee on Legal Assistance to Military Personnel - much current information; more added frequently
  • Oregon State Bar Military Assistance Panel: provides opportunities for Oregon attorneys to receive specialized training and offer pro bono services to active duty service members deployed overseas. Initiated in 2003, by Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers, Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace P. Carson, Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the OSB, the program now has over 120 volunteer attorneys. A two-hour online CLE is available to volunteers. PLF coverage for those not otherwise covered is under a special umbrella policy for OSB Certified Pro Bono Programs.
  • North Carolina State Bar Association LAMP Section: - has plenty of handouts. In fact, North Carolina LAMP resources seem pretty impressive: look here.
  • New Mexico State Bar Association has a special LAMP referral program "....providing advice and representation to military personnel and their families, including Reservists and National Guardsmen who have been activated, throughout the State of New Mexico. (505) 797-6005 - 1-800-87-N-M-BAR (1-800-876-6227) In a time of national emergency our men and women in uniform and their families shouldn't have to worry about their legal rights at home. To protect these rights, New Mexico lawyers are ready to help at no or modest cost. Call for more assistance or email for assistance. You may fill out the Intake Form and email."
  • Washington State Bar Association LAMP Section: - has a listserve at

Now there are 46 other state bars out there, and who knows how many local and specialty bars? If your bar has a LAMP program, add it via the comment feature below; if it doesn't then form one!