Sunday, May 17, 2009

New Jersey Legal Assistance to Military Personnel (LAMP)

The legal community in New Jersey provides Legal Assistance to Military Personnel in a variety of ways.

For the Warrior Community

Active duty service members may wish to go first to Armed Forces Legal Assistance's online database to "locate active duty legal activities offering general legal services within the continental United States". Here is a list for the state of New Jersey.

Servicemembers and Veterans alike may find a lot of resources with the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, such as a Veterans Guide, link to Service Offices, lots of forms, and more.

The New Jersey Bar Association has organized a remarkable Military Legal Assistance Program, as follows:
"The Military Legal Assistance Program is a pro bono program established by the New Jersey State Bar Association, through its Military Law and Veterans' Affairs Committee, in conjunction with McCarter & English, L.L.P. This program provides free legal assistance to eligible military personnel.

To be eligible for the program you must:
  • be a New Jersey resident;
  • be a member of the reserve components of the armed forces (Army National Guard, Army Reserve, Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard, Navy Reserve, Marine Corp Reserve, etc.); and
  • have been called to active duty and deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan since 2001.
The Military Legal Assistance Program offers legal assistance to eligible military personnel in three areas:
  • Family Law
  • Employment Law
  • Debtor-Creditor Law
Please call 888-541-1900 to request assistance. If you are eligible for assistance, your case will be referred to a volunteer who can assist you with your specific legal issue."

General-Purpose Resources

Servicemembers, veterans and their families are of course eligible to use the same resources as anyone else.

Private Practice Attorneys

Typically, a lawyer in private practice will listen to your situation for 15 or 20 minutes, then give you an idea about how to proceed, in general terms, without charging you. If the matter is something the lawyer can help you with, but must charge for, sometimes you can work out a military-family discount, especially if you are easy to work with. The Findlaw website has a city-by-city list of lawyers in New Jersey who are interested in representing active-duty military personnel, military reservists, and veterans .

New Jersey county bar associations have set up over 20 Lawyer Referral Services.

For Lawyers

The New Jersey Bar Association (through its Military Law and Veterans' Affairs Committee, in conjunction with McCarter & English)
established a Military Legal Assistance Program to help New Jersey residents who have served overseas as active duty members of reserve components of the armed forces after September 11, 2001.

To learn more and/or volunteer, contact the program here.

You may also find many pro bono opportunities through Pro Bono especially through its pro bono opportunities guide.

It is likely that there are other New Jersey 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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