Volunteer Attorneys to Staff Legal Clinic that assists Low-Income Veterans

Pittsburgh PennsylvaniaNovember 11, 2008.  Officers of the Pro Bono Center of the Allegheny County Bar Foundation have announced that low-income veterans who are residents of Allegheny County can find help with legal issues at a new clinic at the Veterans Place of Washington Boulevard. The clinic, which opened this summer, is staffed by volunteer attorneys, and organizers want to ensure that veterans know where to find assistance. The clinic will be open on the first Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m., except for November when it will be open on November 11. The move was necessitated due to Election Day. Appointments are required.

The Veterans Legal Clinic is a project of the Pittsburgh Pro Bono Partnership, a group of law firms and corporate and government legal departments that partner to provide free legal services to certain low-income individuals. The Veterans Legal Clinic will be staffed by volunteer attorneys from the law firms of Jones Day; and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP. Attorneys will meet with veterans to advise them on a variety of non-criminal areas of law, including child custody and child support, divorce, consumer issues, landlord/tenant disputes, and veterans benefits. Some veterans may be referred to other providers of legal services in the area.

Carol Singer, Director of Veterans Place, says that the timing of the new clinic could not be better. “At least 35 percent of veterans now returning home from our current conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere will need jobs,” said Singer. “Some veterans have legal issues that impede their ability to return to the workforce. The attorneys might be able to help them resolve those issues, so that they can get on with their lives. Additionally, it is expected that a high percentage or returning veterans will have post-traumatic stress syndrome and other service-related disabilities.”

The volunteer attorneys will help veterans understand what benefits they may be eligible for and advise them on how to make a claim. The clinic serves not only recently-released service members, but those involved in prior conflicts as well. Any low-income veteran who has an honorable discharge, DD-214, or other veterans’ identification may seek legal services at the clinic.

Veterans Place of Washington Boulevard is a non-profit organization whose mission is to help fellow veterans in need. It provides a transitional residence for formerly homeless veterans who have completed the drug and/or alcohol programs of the Pittsburgh Veterans Administration Health System. Veterans Place also provides job training, life-skills training, drug and alcohol counseling, and psychological support for the veterans as they reintegrate into our community as valuable and productive citizens.

For more information and to determine eligibility for legal services, veterans may contact Veterans Place at 412-363-8761. Veterans Place of Washington Boulevard is located at 945 Washington Blvd., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 15206.

The Pittsburgh Pro Bono Partnership is a collaboration of law firms, corporate and governmental legal departments, and the Allegheny County Bar Foundation. Its purpose is to increase attorney and paralegal participation in providing free legal services to low-income residents of Allegheny County. Partnership members work together to identify areas of need and create programs to meet un-served legal needs in the community. For more information on the Partnership, contact Barbara Kern at 412-586-6138 or kernb@nlsa.us.