What Legal Resources are available?
Families ask where to go for legal support for such things as Powers of Attorney, Wills, Advance Directives, Living Wills, and other legal affairs. Each Service has a Judge Advocate General’s Corp (JAG) that can provide information on what legal documents you need and assist you in drafting them. It doesn’t matter what branch of service you are affiliated with, all of the Services’ JAG offices will help you. The U.S. Armed Forces Legal Assistance website is a joint initiative of the Armed Forces that aims to provide general legal information to the military community. The website even provides a portal to find a legal assistance office near you! http://legalassistance.law.af.mil/ Here is a list of the Services’ JAG offices:
Air Force: http://hqja.jag.af.mil/
Coast Guard: http://www.uscg.mil/legal/
A JAG attorney cannot provide legal representation in a civilian court. However, your local JAG office may be able to provide a referral to an attorney who specializes in your legal issue in the local community. Additionally, most state bar associations have a free referral service and will provide a list of licensed attorneys and identify the attorney’s practice area.
Some law schools and other community organizations provide pro bono services to military families or attorneys who represent a military client. The American Bar Association’s Military Pro Bono project connects active duty personnel to free legal assistance for civil legal issues beyond the scope of the services provided by the JAG office. Military clients must meet certain income requirements and receive a referral from the JAG office in order to participate. More information is available at http://www.militaryprobono.org/. Chapman University School of Law has established a Military Personnel Law Center to serve as a legal clinic for military personnel on selected topics. http://www.chapman.edu/law/programs/clinics/amvets.asp The National Military Family Association does not maintain a comprehensive list of all pro bono programs available to service members, veterans, survivors and their families. We would encourage you to contact a local law school and inquire about any legal clinics that may be available. Nationwide free legal aid referral information is available at www.lawhelp.org.
Are you an attorney with a military client?
Information from the American Bar Association’s working group Legal Assistance for Military Personnel (LAMP) is available at: http://www.abanet.org/legalservices/lamp/home.html. LAMP provides resources to help familiarize civilian attorneys with laws applicable to military members.
During particular milestones in your service career, you may need tailored legal information. Our Deployment section provides legal tips for you to consider before you deploy and our Wounded Warriors section contains legal information for wounded, ill, or injured service members.
Until military families are relieved of the weight of war, we hope you will continue to contribute to their wellbeing.
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