Sunday, February 15, 2009

District of Columbia Legal Assistance to Military Personnel (LAMP)

The District of Columbia is physically small enough that a many legal services for matters essentially federal in nature may be better addressed by resources in the neighboring states. None-the-less, there are some useful resources specific to the District of Columbia.

For Servicemembers, Veterans and Families

For the public, the District of Columbia Bar Association maintains some useful Programs and Services such as a Free Child Custody Clinic, a Divorce Clinic, a Landlord Tenant Resource Center and more: See the List here.

For active services members, a recent positive development was recently announced:
2/4/2009 - BOLLING AFB, D.C. -- The Air Force and Army recently opened the Pentagon Army and Air Force Legal Assistance Office. An official ribbon cutting ceremony will be held Feb. 25 at 2 p.m.

"It's a shared office with people working toward a common vision of providing superior customer service to Soldiers and Airmen," said Lt. Col. Dawn M. Zoldi, 11th Wing Staff Judge Advocate.

PAAFLAO, located in room 5B1058A, is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Legal assistance will be provided on an appointment basis to eligible Army and Air Force clients only.

"This convenient location provides 'in the building" support and saves clients the trip to Bolling," said Colonel Zoldi. "And it's only two doors down from the new military personnel flight."

Eligible clients include active-duty servicemembers and their dependents, retirees and their dependents, and certain National Guard and Reserve members. Powers of attorney and notary services will be provided on a walk-in basis. The PAAFLAO also offers limited tax services this year.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (703) 571-3114. Directions to the office from the Pentagon Metro Station are available upon request."
Active duty service members may also wish to check the 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 District of Columbia is here

DC is home to a high concentration of law schools, many of which host community legal clinics, such as The district is also home to a large number of legal clinics hosted by law schools such as Georgetown Legal Clinics, David A. Clarke School of Law's Housing Clinic, the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law's Columbus Community Legal Services, George Washington University's Jacob Burns Community Legal Clinics. These are all volunteer programs that may vary greatly in availability due to the academic calendar and the huge volume of unmet legal needs, but they may be worth checking out and are definitely worth supporting.

Findlaw has a list of DC lawyers interested in representing active-duty military personnel, military reservists, and former military personnel with “veteran” status here.

For Attorneys

The Bar Association of the District of Columbia has a Military Law Committee, about which I've not learned much; see contact information here (scroll down the page a bit). Otherwise, neither BADC, District of Columbia Bar Association, nor the Washington Bar Association (this DC organization is to be distinguished from the Washington State Bar Association) does not seem to have a Legal Assistance to Military Personnel (LAMP) Section. However, there is little doubt that DCBA's Pro Bono programs would be happy to hear from you; attorneys looking to provide pro bono help should see DCBA's Directory of Legal Service Providers. Entrepreneurs will swiftly note that there is, at this writing, nothing on that page listed under the subject matter "veterans"; this is an opportunity for a active attorney to get something started! And surely, in these times, wouldn't you want your firm to have an honorable place on its Pro Bono Partnership (PART) webpage?

If you have more information on the above, or on other efforts to provide legal help to our warrior community, please leave a comment below. The purpose is service!
See also

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