Virginia State Bar

An agency of the Supreme Court of Virginia

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Pro Bono / Access to Legal Services

A Mission of the Virginia State Bar.

Veterans Resources

Legal Services for Military Families and Veterans

excerpted from the Virginia Office of the Attorney General publication, "Military & Veteran Legal Resource Guide." View the whole guide in PDF.

There are a number of resources available to assist military servicemembers, veterans, and their families protect their legal rights.

If you have simple legal questions or questions about the Virginia Courts system, the following websites may be useful:
 

Virginia Free Legal Answers – Virginia Free Legal Answers is a free, fast, and easy service for Virginians who cannot afford a lawyer. The site can be accessed from any device anywhere,
even at your public library. There is no cost to you to post your question or to receive an answer.

VAlegalaid.org – This website offers free and low cost civil legal information. You may also find examples of forms you may wish to use if you are representing yourself in court or if you are handling legal matters on your own without an attorney. For example, there are forms for uncontested divorces, a model lease, and an example of a letter telling a debt collector to stop calling you. Please visit the self-help forms section of the website for a full menu of available forms.

Virginia Judicial System Self-Help Website – This website provides legal information in areas of the law commonly sought by self-represented persons, such as family law, traffic matters, landlord-tenant law, small claims, probate, protective orders, and guardianship and conservatorship.

Virginia’s Judicial System - For Citizens – This website provides information about Virginia courts, including their locations and contact information, how to request an accommodation if you have a disability, as well as other useful information about Virginia courts.

If you think you need an attorney, the following programs may be able to assist you:


Civil Matters & Family Law
 

Armed Forces Legal Assistance – The military provides free legal assistance to servicemembers on a variety of civil matters including trusts and estates, bankruptcy, and consumer matters. Legal assistance attorneys usually cannot represent you in court. More information here.

Mason Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic (M-VETS) – Located at George Mason University in Northern Virginia, M-VETS provides free representation to service members, veterans and dependent family members in family and civil matters, discharge upgrades, and pension/dependency and indemnity compensation. Additionally, M-VETS assists service members with PEB/MEB/Medical Discharge Assistance, Record Corrections, and Military Pay Entitlements. You may obtain more information about these services at the M-VETS website or by calling 703.993.8214.

Community Tax Law Project – The Community Tax Law Project provides free legal representation to lowincome Virginia taxpayers in tax disputes. You may obtain more information about these services at the CTLP website (http://ctlp.org/) or by calling 804.358.5855.

Attorney General Legal Clinic – The Virginia Attorney General, in partnership with the Department of Veterans Services and the Virginia State Bar, provides free, simple estate planning services to low income veterans and their partners and spouses. These clinics are held at areas around the state and offer simple wills, advance medical directives and powers of attorney. You may access their website to find additional information and to fill out an application.

National Legal Resources 

www.nvlsp.org – The National Veterans Legal Services Program offers free legal representation in discharge upgrade, disability retirement, military sexual trauma, and Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims cases. It also publishes the comprehensive Veterans Benefits Manual and a web application, the NVLSP VA Benefits Identified, to assist in determining VA benefits to which someone may be entitled.

www.statesidelegal.org – This national clearinghouse site offers a searchable directory of free and low-cost legal service providers for veterans and service members in every State. It also includes user-friendly explanations of the law for military members, veterans, and their families and caregivers.

https://vetlex.org  – This site is an extension of the ABA’s Veterans Claims Assistance Network (ABA VCAN) and connects unrepresented veterans who need help preparing initial benefits claim packages with lawyers who will help them assemble their claims submissions as Fully Developed Claims (FDCs) for expedited rating decisions by the VA.  The services are free to veterans.

The Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program – This free program provides legal assistance to veterans who have received an unfavorable decision (denial) from the Board of Veterans Appeals. Volunteers also provide assistance with discharge upgrades. The website also has an online library where veterans can find resources on a variety of veterans legal issues. To apply click here or call 888.838.7727.

Lawyers Serving Warriors® - this program of NVLSP offers pro bono (free) legal help with disability issues to veterans from all eras. The current pro bono initiative is to assist veterans with two types of disability claims — applications for Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC) and applications to the Physical Disability Board of Review for an increase in the military disability rating.

Veterans Benefits
 

The Lewis B. Puller Jr. Veterans Benefits Clinic – Located at William & Mary Law School, the Puller Clinic assists disabled veterans in obtaining the disability compensation and medical benefits to which veterans are entitled. The services offered at the Puller Clinic are free. To apply for services, please download, complete, and return the Application Form to veterans@wm.edu, or via fax to 757.221.3131, or mail it to The Lewis B. Puller, Jr. Veterans Benefits Clinic, William & Mary Law School, PO Box 8795, Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795.

Mason Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic (M-VETS) – Located at George Mason University, in Northern Virginia, M-VETS provides free representation to veterans seeking disability compensation and medical benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. You may obtain more information about these services at the M-VETS website (http://mvets.law.gmu.edu/) or by calling 703.993.8214.

Criminal
 

Virginia Veterans Dockets – The Virginia Supreme Court adopted a Rule of Court to allow jurisdictions around Virginia to create Veterans Dockets for criminal defendants who are veterans of the armed services and have substance dependency or mental illness. Defendants who are eligible for these dockets will be offered treatment and specialized services for veterans.

Other Resources

The Virginia Veterans Resource Guide – This publication contains information on several other resources available to assist servicemembers, veterans, and their families. Topics include but are not limited to employment, resources for women veterans, education, benefits services, and housing and homeless services. Legal resources are listed on page 10.

If the above entities are unable to assist you, you may contact the Virginia Lawyer Referral Service to locate an attorney near you:

Virginia Lawyer Referral Service – If you think you have a problem that may require the services of a lawyer, call the Virginia Lawyer Referral Service, 800.552.7977. If you are referred to a lawyer, you will be entitled to consult with the lawyer for up to one-half hour for a fee of $35.