Georgia Legal Services Program Provides Web Resources for Lawyers to Help Veterans and Service Members
Friday, November 09, 2012
- Organization: State Bar of Georgia Pro Bono Project
- Source: Georgia
ATLANTA (Nov. 7, 2012) – As Veterans Day approaches, the Georgia Legal Services Program urges lawyers across the state to reach out and provide access to justice to veterans and active-duty service members.
In response to the growing need for legal assistance, Georgia Legal Services and the State Bar of Georgia Pro Bono Project teamed up in 2010 to create an online resource to encourage and support lawyers in delivering critical legal help to our country’s defenders.
There are more than 772,000 veterans in Georgia, and thousands more active duty service members are based here. Many of them face legal needs outside the scope of what the military can assist with, but lack the funds for a private attorney. Such problems might include family law, such as divorce, child custody or child support; landlord/tenant and other housing issues; disability claims; and consumer issues.
Georgia Legal Services Program offers free legal services outside the city of Atlanta in civil cases to people who cannot afford to hire a lawyer. GLSP’s clients have “high stakes” problems, such as domestic violence, eviction or foreclosure, denial of hard-earned benefits such as unemployment, inability to get critically needed health care or food aid, and many more.
“Our resources are stretched very thin. To leverage those scarce resources, we recruit volunteer lawyers to help us meet the legal needs of low-income Georgians. We know that many military families and veterans have low-incomes and may qualify for our services. Volunteer lawyers can help us meet their legal needs,” says Phyllis Holmen, GLSP’s executive director.
The veterans and service members volunteer lawyer support website provides lawyers with practice materials, online training and other resources to help them assist veterans and service members in Georgia with civil legal problems. The site will also be used to help place specific cases with pro bono attorneys. Visitors to the site have access to LiveHelp, a real-time, online chat service that helps guide advocates to the information and resources they need.
The Military Legal Assistance Project site is part of GeorgiaAdvocates.org, a comprehensive online resource for pro bono and legal services attorneys. GeorgiaAdvocates.org is among a network of statewide legal aid web sites in 28 states that leverage a technology platform developed by Pro Bono Net, a national nonprofit that works to increase access to justice. Pro Bono Net helps legal aid, pro bono and court partners within the network to share new ideas and best practices, allowing innovative models of service delivery to be replicated.
“The legal problems of service members often have unique issues, and there are special federal laws that protect them in the area of employment law and consumer law, for example,” said Mike Monahan, Director of the Pro Bono Project and manager of the Military Legal Assistance Program website. “With the volunteer lawyer support website, we can keep the unique military and veterans law issues on the radar screen of our advocates.”
Attorneys wishing to get involved in helping service members and veterans on a pro bono basis – or who are already involved in doing so - should visit www.GeorgiaAdvocates.org/GAMLAP.
About Georgia Legal Services Program®
The mission of the Georgia Legal Services Program is to provide access to justice and opportunities out of poverty for Georgians with low-incomes. Our lawyers and paralegals provide the help that reflects your community's values of fairness, equality, and responsibility to assist others in need.