Lawyers sometimes get a bad rap. But for most lawyers, and especially military spouse lawyers, service to community is an important part of their personal and professional lives.
Pro bono legal service is the hallmark of the legal profession. Some law schools require pro bono service before graduation, and a growing number of states enshrine pro bono legal service into their rules of professional responsibility, requiring it as part of their ethical requirements. Military spouses volunteer at higher rates than civilians, and MSJDN members are no different. Our 2013 survey showed 3 out of 4 MSJDN members volunteer, and many do so through pro bono activities that allow them to use their legal minds while serving.
Last year, in order to increase opportunities for pro bono service for military spouse attorneys, MSJDF launched Justice for Military Families. Right now, we work with Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) to provide pro bono representation for the families of fallen servicemembers. In the next couple of months, we will beta launch our virtual pro bono legal clinic, a place where military families can connect with military spouse attorneys for free legal advice.
Justice for Military Families was recently nominated for the American Bar Association’s Louis M. Brown Award for Legal Access, which honors innovative programs dedicated to matching the unmet legal needs of the middle class to lawyers who provide affordable legal services. Justice for Military Families only requires that you be military-affiliated to access services and does not require you to “income-qualify,” or make below a certain amount, to connect with a lawyer.
As an award nominee, Justice for Military Families is eligible for the ABA’s Brown Select award, presented to the Brown Award nominee that gets the most votes. Visit this link, click VOTE NOW, record your vote for Justice for Military Families, and show your support for military spouse attorneys!
The goals of our clinic are two-fold: (1) help military families with the legal consequences of military life, frequently complicated by multiple moves, frequent deployments, and lack of a local support system, and (2) help military spouse attorneys with meaningful, resume-building volunteer work. Due to frequent separations, military families are familiar with using technology to keep in touch and communicate. Our virtual legal clinic will build on this comfort with technology by providing an innovative delivery system for pro bono legal services.
Support our work by voting for Justice for Military Families today.