April 2009 • Vol. 29 No. 4 | An E-Publication of the Los Angeles County Bar Association

Inner City Law Center Seeks Emeritus Attorneys to Provide Pro Bono Legal Services to Disabled Veterans

As the only legal services provider headquartered on skid row, Inner City Law Center has a longstanding commitment to supplying legal assistance to veterans fighting for their VA benefits. ICLC knows firsthand how VA benefits can change lives by helping vets achieve independent living and self-sufficiency.

With a significant population of Vietnam vets still living on the streets of Los Angeles, ICLC is committed to preventing a second “lost generation” of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.

Of the 1.8 million men and women who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, many have returned with physical injuries—in some cases quite severe—and an estimated 500,000 will return with post traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury. For many of these veterans, a lawyer may mean the difference between success and failure—success meaning not only a monthly stipend but also far greater access to medical treatment.

In 2008, as part of its longstanding program to represent disabled veterans in VA benefits claims, ICLC added a pro bono component to its Homeless Veterans Project. In March 2009, the ABA Commission on Law and Aging awarded a grant to ICLC to expand its program by involving emeritus attorneys in the full range of service delivery.

The Department of Veterans Affairs began accrediting attorneys to represent veterans in 2007. ICLC can help with both the accreditation process and the required substantive training.

Emeritus attorneys may choose to provide full representation, or to interview and screen clients, or to work on portions of cases. ICLC will provide training and mentoring as well as malpractice insurance.

Emeritus attorneys who provide legal services exclusively through a qualified legal services provider such as Inner City Law Center qualify for a full waiver of State Bar dues under the California Pro Bono Practice Rules. While Pro Bono Practice Rules attorneys must fulfill MCLE requirements, there are a number of programs that waive all fees for MCLE programs for anyone practicing under the Pro Bono Practice Rules. The rules recommend a minimum commitment of 100 volunteer hours per year.

From World War II and Korean Conflict vets to recent veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, veterans have struggled to overcome the physical and psychological impacts of military service. Emeritus attorneys can help them achieve the financial and medical support these veterans were promised when they signed up to defend the United States.

For more information, please contact David Ackerly, directing attorney, Homeless Veterans Project, at DAckerly@innercitylaw.org or (213) 891-2880. 

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