Sunday, March 15, 2009

Illinois Legal Assistance to Military Personnel (LAMP)

Illinois provides Legal Assistance to Military Personnel in a variety of ways.

For the Warrior Community

Illinois Army and Air National Guard personnel, as well as their families, may wish to first consult the Illinois Army and Air National Guard Judge Advocate General's Office Legal Resources web page. Under some conditions, it may also "... provide legal assistance to military personnel, retirees and their qualified dependents in accordance with applicable Army and Air Force legal assistance regulations" so this may be a resource all members of the warrior community to look.

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 Illinois is here

Servicemembers, veterans and their families are of course eligible to use the same resources as anyone else. And in this connection, let me admire and recommend the Illinois Legal Aid website:
To try it out, I went there, typed "military deployment" in the "What's your legal problem?" field, and hit Search! It replied with five useful and relevant articles. Good, but was that a fluke?

I tried again, typing in "veteran" and giving it zip code 60515. It came back with more relevant article PLUS information on a legal services agency near that zip code. More good!

Then I noticed the video library AND instructions in Spanish. Well Done!
The Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) has similar helpful resources, such as a Legal Information database. Of especial interest to the warrior community is its page on Legal Information: Laws Protecting Military Personnel. This outlines a number of important protections for the warrior community. It concludes with two suggestions on how to get further help if you really need or prefer to have professional assistance.
  • "If you have a legal problem, assistance in finding attorneys is available through the Illinois State Bar Association's Illinois Lawyer Finder Service. Through a lawyer referral service, you will be given the name of an attorney in your area. For the initial half-hour consultation the lawyer will reduce rates to not more than $15. After the first half-hour, regular fees will apply."
    (Note that this ISBA's Lawyer Finder page at includes "Veterans" among the "Fields of Practice" you can search on!)
  • "Any area military base can provide assistance to servicemembers and their families through the Legal Assistance Office."
    That webpage has phone numbers for all the above but let me suggest you get them from the page itself since if I copied them here, there's the chance they might go out of date.
The Chicago Bar Association also sponsors a Lawyer Referral Service and other legal assistance facilities, including a monthly Call-A-Lawyer program, an In-Court Lawyer Referral Program for some traffic & criminal matters
a Matrimonial Fee Arbitration Project and several more.

The Findlaw website has a city-by-city list of lawyers interested in representing active-duty military personnel, military reservists, and veterans here.

For Lawyers

The Illinois State Bar Association has a Standing Committee on Military Affairs that has conducted a number of projects, such as "Military Family Law: Tips and Traps" CLE of which a recording may be available here.

Illinois Pro Bono is seeking Pro Bono Assistance for Illinois servicemembers, to deliver pro bono legal assistance in civil cases to active-duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their eligible family members, as part of the ABA Military Pro Bono Project. Please see this detailed notice, including a broad range of practice areas and skills. Note where it says "We are looking for Illinois attorneys and firms to register with our website to be offered pro bono opportunities when they arise. We are in particular need of family law practitioners. Please visit for more information and to sign up."

Attorneys interested in pro bono generally can check out and the Chicago Bar Assocation's Pro Bono page

It is very likely that there are other Illinois programs, sponsored by local bar associations, law schools, and others. Anyone with more information on these or other programs are invited to contact me; the most convenient way is to add in a comment below. The purpose is service!

See also

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