During the 2011-2012 year, the Young Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association extended its yearly commitment of public service to supporting our veterans. Partnering with the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, the ABA-YLD implemented Project Salute: Young Lawyers Serving Veterans.
Free Legal Clinics for Veterans
Through the year-long partnership, volunteer attorneys at free legal clinics educated veterans on available veterans’ benefits and assisted them with completing the required paperwork to obtain those benefits. The goal was to help as many veterans as possible in all 50 states. To participate in this project, volunteer attorneys were to have been VA accredited and to have completed a three-hour training session.
At each legal clinic, a multi-media educational video was shown, and trained volunteer lawyers then consulted individually with veterans and assisted them in completing applications, guiding them through various requirements and eligibility for federal veterans’ benefits.
Goals of the Project
The project’s three primary goals were:
- Educate law students by providing one-on-one contact with real clients with real cases,
- Educate veterans of their rights under federal law and provide individualized legal counsel to obtain benefits,
- Educate attorneys in Veterans’ Benefits Law to create a network of free assistance for veterans.
With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the world’s largest voluntary professional membership organization, and the Young Lawyers Division, with more than 150,000 members and 300 affiliated groups, is the world’s largest young lawyer organization and the ABA’s largest division.