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ABA Has Committee Focused On Legal Needs Of Veterans

Because the legal issues faced by veterans can be so complex and particular, the American Bar Association has a Coordinating Committee on Veterans Benefits and Services.

Many who serve on the panel were themselves in the military and approach the legal problems from their own experiences.


“The challenge is huge, but the ABA has stepped up,” Paul Freese, co-chairman of the committee, is quoted as saying on the association’s website.

Freese was among those who participated earlier this year on the “Serving Those Who Served: A Roundtable Discussion on Meeting the Legal Needs of Veterans” at the 2014 ABA Midyear Meeting in Chicago.

“Meeting speakers focused on success stories including two programs from Chicago that aid veterans in need,” according to the article.

One was the John Marshall Law School Veterans Legal Support Center and Clinic, which was established by three John Marshall Law School students. Since the program was started, it “has grown from a low-resource, small volunteer project to a well-funded clinic with 21 students this semester and a network of more than 100 pro bono attorneys.”

“Benefit claims are the most frequent issue handled by the clinic,” the account states. “Recently, the clinic and a pro bono volunteer attorney helped a veteran receive $177,122 in back pay.”

The Chicago Child Support Project, which seeks to help homeless veterans facing huge child support burdens, was also highlighted.

“Many homeless veterans are so far behind in child support, perhaps tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, that they cannot hope to pay the local authority or the other parent,” according to the piece. “In those cases, (Marian Scott-Steele, the homeless veterans liaison at the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, Division of Child Support Services) helps the veteran apply to have the authority agree not to pursue the debt and sometimes for the other parent to agree not to press for the child support.”

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