Three industry organizations recently joined the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to sign a memorandum of agreement facilitating veterans’ access to pro bono legal services for issues such as housing, employment and medical treatment.
Representatives from the American Bar Association, the Veterans Consortium and the National Law School Veterans Clinic Consortium lent their signatures, affirming support along with VA Secretary David Shulkin. The memo is designed to help military veterans in stressful instances of eviction or foreclosure; child support matters; drivers’ license issues; and more.
The one need stressed most highly in the VA’s recent annual survey — encompassing various issues including homelessness, education and networking in addition to legal matters — was distinctly demonstrated to be legal help, according to the department.
“We are encouraging VA Medical Centers and other VA facilities to engage with their local communities to establish legal clinics and Medical Legal Partnerships to address veterans’ legal needs that threaten their health and well-being,” Shulkin said. “By signing this agreement, we are documenting a shared commitment to better facilitate veterans’ access to legal services.”
The VA sponsors more than 165 free legal clinics through its medical centers, outpatient clinics and veterans’ centers nationwide, collaborating with independent legal entities such as local bar associations, legal aid groups and law schools.