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Recent Updates Fordham offices remain staffed and operating remotely. The University has released its plan, Fordham Forward, to resume in-person teaching and learning for the Fall semester. Full Details

Volunteer Lawyers for Veterans Program

Feerick Ctr - Veteran webpage 

 

  Assisting Low-Income Veterans

 

 

The mission of Volunteer Lawyers for Veterans (VLV) is to recruit volunteer lawyers to assist low-income veterans who have  civil legal needs in the areas of consumer law and VA benefits. Placement opportunities include providing limited legal advice in a clinic setting and Know-Your-Rights presentations. The VLV Program aims to bridge a civil “justice gap” for veterans in these two critical areas.  Social science research shows that veterans who seek public services and resources often also have unmet civil legal issues.  Pro bono services can help meet these unmet needs and, in doing so, stabilize and improve the lives of the brave men and women who have served our country and their family members.

 

Training

  • Interviewing Techniques/Screening of Veterans
  • Military Cultural Competency
  • Substantive training in areas of consumer debt and veterans benefits (especially initial VA disability benefit claims)
    • CLE credits are available

Examples of potential volunteer opportunities

  • Provide Know-Your-Rights presentations to veterans at social service partner sites
  • Provide limited-scope legal assistance to veterans on consumer debt and related issues
  • Assist veterans with filing initial VA disability benefit claims

 

For more information about the Volunteer Lawyers for Veterans Program, please contact Taylor Bessinger, 2019-2020 AmeriCorps VISTA Member, at vlvcoordinator@fordham.edu or 646-312-8725.

 

This effort is supported by a grant from The Corporation for National and Community Service VISTA.

Joseph Crowley, Volunteer Coordinator

Joe Crowley

 

 

 

Joseph Crowley: As a veteran I understand the challenges of transitioning from military to civilian life even under the best of circumstances. Although our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guard members must be willing to put themselves in the way of bodily harm on the job, the military is a very protective environment thanks to the unparalleled trust and camaraderie felt among members of a unit.

Civilians do not look out for one another the way service members do. Military life is simple in that if there is something you should be doing and you are not doing it someone will be yelling at you. Service members never lack direction in their lives; veterans must learn to find it themselves. It can be challenging for veterans to adjust to these realities.

The transition is even more difficult for veterans facing uncertainty around their civilian lives after long periods deployed away from home and those suffering from service-related physical injuries or mental health problems. Emotional well-being and peace of mind can be difficult to find. The everyday stresses of life, many of which relate to financial security, can be overwhelming.

We can use our skills as lawyers and the resources of the Feerick Center to help our veteran population. We can get creditors to stop harassing them. We can help them secure the VA benefits to which they are entitled. We can make sure family support obligations are fair and achievable based on the circumstances and capabilities of the noncustodial parent. We can prevent situations from becoming desperate so that veterans can focus on building happy, successful civilian lives. Just as importantly we can show them that there is trust and camaraderie outside the service.

 

Joseph Crowley

Volunteer Coordinator

Volunteer Lawyers for Veterans Program