The Texas legal community supports several Legal Assistance to Military Personnel-related projects.
Operation Enduring LAMP (Legal Assistance to Military Personnel) is a program of the State Bar of Texas whereby volunteer lawyers provide pro bono legal assistance to members of the Reserves and National Guard called to active duty, and their families. This program helps with a wide range of legal issues, from probate and trust matters to employment questions.
Legal assistance may also be provided to family members in communities beyond the reach of an active duty legal assistance office. The State Bar's Texas Lawyers Care program and the Military Law Section staff this program, and Col. Bryan Spencer serves as the LAMP Director.
The State Bar provides a free four-hour CLE training with a course book to upgrade local attorneys skills in law not normally found in their practice. The subjects cover the new Service Members Civil Relief Act (50 U.S.C. App §§501-596) signed by President Bush on December 19, 2003, (formerly the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act), the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, (38 U.S.C. §§4301-4333), Military Estate Planning, and Military Benefits. The State Bar also recruits volunteer instructors.
At a minimum, legal assistance involves counseling, telephone calls, and letter writing for signature by the client or the attorney. The client pays any out-of-pocket expenses. Local bars often provide meeting space. Local attorneys who agree to do this work pro bono provide legal assistance at the Centers/Armories on a routine basis, or in the attorney’s individual office, as appropriate.
Operation Enduring LAMP also provides pro bono Texas probate for service members who die while on active duty. This assistance includes routine probate, but not trusts and more complex probate work. Court costs, if not waived by the probate judge, are to be paid by the survivors.
Attorneys are encouraged to volunteer for either the probate or general legal assistance pro bono programs. Reserve Judge Advocates may receive points for this legal assistance.
CLE programs can be initiated by contacting Bryan Spencer at 800-204-2222 ext. 1857. Questions can be directed to LAMP Director Col. Bryan Spencer at the above number or 512-415-9176 or by e-mail at BSpencer@Texasbar.com.
Military personnel and their family members are provided assistance with their legal problems typically through the Staff Judge Advocate’s Office on each base, post, or installation. Volunteer registration of lawyers, paralegals and other legal support staff is key to the success of the LAMP program. TLC staff will receive requests for assistance and will relay these requests to volunteers.
Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans is a State Bar of Texas program to develop and assist pro bono legal clinics throughout the state for military veterans who otherwise cannot afford or do not have access to the legal services they need. The program was a major initiative of 2010–11 State Bar of Texas President Terry Tottenham.
Texas lawyers interested in helping veterans can learn more here.
The Texas Veterans Legal Assistance Project (VLAP)
The "One on One Assistance to Reservists" program, a joint effort between the Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program and the Houston Bar Association, offers help on topics such as Estate Planning, Probate, Wills, Issues arising from SSCRA and USERRA.
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 Texas 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.
Anyone with more information on these or other programs, please add them in a comment below. The purpose is service!
See also State-by-state list of LAMP programs