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Veterans Legal Services Initiative
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About

The Veterans Legal Services Initiative (VLSI) is a partnership between the MSBA, the Veterans’ Law Section, and Pine Tree Legal Assistance. The goal of VLSI is to educate Maine attorneys on the civil legal needs, many of which can be health-harming, of Maine veterans and to provide training and pro bono opportunities to help bridge the justice gap for veterans in Maine. 

 

Pro Bono for Maine Veterans

The pro bono opportunities listed below are coordinated by VLSI partner, Pine Tree Legal Assistance. Pine Tree provides malpractice insurance, training, support for pro bono attorneys and tracks pro bono credit hours. Examples of training opportunities include online webinars and Veterans Law Section CLE trainings in partnership with the MSBA.

 

These opportunities are designed to meet the needs of Maine veterans while also providing time-limited and discrete opportunities for pro bono attorneys to get involved.

 

Pro Bono Opportunities

Starbucks Military Mondays

Launched in fall 2016 as a partnership with the MSBA, the Veterans’ Law Section, Pine Tree Legal Assistance and Starbucks, Military Mondays is a free monthly pro bono legal clinic at the Cooks Corner Starbucks in Brunswick, Maine, held the last Monday of every month from 1-4 p.m. Pro bono attorneys provide free legal information to veterans and servicemembers on their area of legal expertise. There is no prerequisite training required. The minimum time commitment is 4 hours.

 

Wills for Heroes

Launching in spring 2019, Wills for Heroes is an annual free one-day legal clinic for veterans and their spouses to receive simple wills and powers of attorney. Participating pro bono attorneys will receive a free CLE training through the Veterans’ Law Section and the MSBA before volunteering at the clinic. This training will cover an overview of wills and healthcare and financial powers of attorney as well as the template forms that will be used. The minimum time commitment is 7.5 hours, including the training. CLE credit will be awarded for training.

 

Veterans Law Clinics in Libraries

Launching in spring 2019, Veterans Law Clinics in Libraries is a free legal clinic held in libraries in Portland, Augusta and Bangor bi-annually in each location. These pro bono clinics provide veterans with legal information on veterans law and assistance with applications for VA benefits and help with VA appeals. Attorneys must be VA accredited and attend an online webinar training on veterans law. The minimum time commitment is 4 hours, excluding the training.

 

Extended Representation Cases

Pine Tree partners with VA Maine Healthcare System on the Veterans Medical-Legal Partnership to provide legal assistance to low-income veterans with health-harming civil legal needs, like housing or income issues. Pine Tree is always seeking pro bono assistance for veterans referred to the Veterans Medical-Legal Partnership from their doctor, nurse or social worker for help with various health-harming legal needs. To learn more about this model, please visit the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership.

 

Getting Involved

If you are interested in learning more about VLSI’s training or pro bono opportunities, please contact Leana Amaez, PTLA Pro Bono Director, at lamaez@ptla.org

 

If you are interested in joining the Veterans’ Law Section, please go here. Read about the Veterans' Law Section here. You must be a member of the Maine State Bar Association to join a section.

 

For more information on becoming VA accredited, please visit the VA’s Office of General Counsel’s website.

 

Maine Bar Association 124 State St. Augusta, ME 04330