August marked the start of Linda Klein’s presidency at the American Bar Association. True to form, she began her term with a vision. Klein wanted to improve legal services for veterans, and that’s what she did.
The Veterans Legal Services Initiative will expand upon the work of the ABA from over the last decade. The initiative is made up of a number of projects all with the same goal in mind — to create centralized resources for veterans, develop policy, and improve the delivery of legal services to the men and women who have served our nation.
According to Klein, over half of the needs that veterans have are legal. Therefore, the Veterans Legal Services Initiative will work to address as many of those concerns as possible.
Under the leadership of a 20-person team, the Veterans Legal Services Commission, will spearhead the project. On its agenda includes plans to work with law schools and local bar associations implementing legal incubators and legal services clinics. There’s also talk of creating more medical and legal partnerships to ensure veterans have quality care at a reasonable cost. Likewise, the ABA is expanding its Pro Bono Week initiatives. It will now include more support to veterans’ legal services, not only in October for Pro Bono Month, but on Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day, as well.
Klein is committed to the newest ABA initiative and to the veteran cause.
These are men and women who have signed a piece of paper saying they would die for us, for our country, in defense of our liberty,” she said at the ABA Annual Meeting this year. “When our justice system fails these people, we as a profession must answer our own calls and oath on their behalf.
Many in the Illinois community have already answered the call to support veterans’ legal services. Both the ISBA Standing Committee on Military Affairs and the Legal Assistance Foundation serve low income veterans, current service members, and military families. Likewise, as we’ve written about before, the John Marshall Law School’s Veterans Clinic represents veterans across Illinois.
As we enter Pro Bono Month, we challenge you to also answer the call and support veterans’ legal services, too. The ABA is encouraging those who give back to share their efforts on social media using the #ABAServingVeterans hashtag.
For more information on Pro Bono Week, please visit the following link.