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NYSBA pilot program will help vets

David M. Schraver

David M. Schraver

Recognizing the legal challenges often faced by military veterans, the New York State Bar Association has established a special panel of attorneys to provide free phone consultations and discounted legal services to veterans statewide.

More than 155 attorneys from around the state have agreed to participate in the new Veteran Referral Panel, which will continue through Memorial Day 2014. The state bar will continue to recruit attorneys and local bar associations to participate in an effort to meet the demand for their legal services.

“Veterans are often forced to deal with a variety of issues relating to employment, family matters, healthcare, housing, disability, pensions and finances,” said state bar President David M. Schraver of Rochester (Nixon Peabody LLP), who served in the U.S. Navy as an attorney in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps.

“With this pilot program, the state bar association continues its commitment to those who have served our country and who now need our help,” he said.

Besides free phone consultations, attorneys will offer a 25 percent discount on their regular fees. The program is available to veterans in need of various legal services, not just those related to obtaining veterans benefits.

Anna K. Christian of Schenectady (Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP), who chairs the bar association’s Committee on Lawyer Referral Service, said there is a great unmet need in New York.

“New York is home to more than 988,000 military veterans, many of whom find themselves in situations in which they need legal assistance,” Christian said. “I’m pleased that so many attorneys and bar associations have enthusiastically embraced this opportunity to help our veterans in their time of need.”

Veterans who wish to take advantage of the discounted legal services should call 1 (800) 342-3661 or email lr@nysba.org. Attorneys who wish to assist veterans should visit www.nysba.org/vetvolunteer for an application. If attorneys are not available to assist veterans in a particular area, the state bar will attempt to connect veterans with other available resources.

The creation of a panel to assist veterans with legal matters was among the recommendations contained in a report issued in September 2012 by the association’s Special Committee on Veterans, available at www.nysba.org/veteransreport.

The association also provides other resources to veterans; see www.nysba.org/vethelp.