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Lawyers Deploy to Serve Nation’s Veterans

Seven Military Veterans Among the Corps of 36

Washington, D.C. – Equal Justice Works today announced its selection of 36 lawyers for the Veterans Legal Corps, an initiative supported by AmeriCorps and the Corporation for National and Community Service.  The team of lawyers is working with legal aid organizations and courts across the country to provide legal assistance to low-income and homeless veterans with issues related to benefits for injuries sustained during military service, access to safe and affordable housing, removing barriers to employment, debt, family law, and other legal issues.  Among the corps members, seven of them are military veterans.

“The ultimate goal of the Veteran Legal Corps is to improve the lives of veterans – once relied upon to serve their country as members of the armed forces – and enable them to return to civilian life as successful community members,” said David Stern, Executive Director of Equal Justice Works.  “The fact that seven of our fellows are veterans themselves demonstrates their continued commitment to our country.”

Some of the returning service members in the Veteran Legal Corps are:

·         Jami Altum-McNair, a veteran of the U.S. Army and Ohio National Guard and a registered nurse, is providing direct legal representation and conducting outreach to help veterans establish financial security at the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, Ohio;

·         Waldo Tapia, a veteran of the U.S. Army who specialized in Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Operations, is working at the Inner City Law Center of Los Angeles and serving Iraq and Afghanistan veterans seeking disability benefits for injuries sustained during military service;

·         Daniel Triplett, Jr., a veteran of the Air Force Reserve and Texas Army National Guard, is working with the Public Law Center in Santa Ana, California, to serve veterans seeking VA benefits, landlord-tenant issues, child support, and other legal needs.  He also staffs mobile legal clinics throughout the region.

The other veterans in the Corps are L.G. Corder at Legal Aid of West Virginia; Nadel Barrett and Michelle Miller at Northwest Justice Project of Washington; and Robert Abdalla at Southeastern Ohio Legal Services. 

Veterans frequently face complicated legal problems stemming from physical and mental injuries sustained during military service.  An annual survey by the VA shows legal needs are among the top unmet needs of homeless and low-income veterans.  The VA has recently recognized that the legal profession is essential to remedy backlogged disability claims.

This year’s Veteran Legal Corps Fellows are working with veterans’ organizations in 10 states, which include: the Inner City Law Center in Los Angeles, California; Legal Aid Society of Cleveland in Ohio; Land of Lincoln Assistance Foundation in Champaign, Illinois; Widener Veterans Law Clinic in Wilmington, Delaware; and the University Of Miami School Of Law in Florida.

For more information, please visit: www.equaljusticeworks.org.

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Equal Justice Works is the national leader in creating public interest opportunities for law students and lawyers.  Collaborating with the nation’s leading law schools, law firms, corporate legal departments and nonprofit organizations, Equal Justice Works offers a continuum of opportunities that provide the training and skills that enable attorneys to provide effective representation to underserved communities and causes.  Equal Justice Works is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. For additional information about Equal Justice Works, please visit www.equaljusticeworks.org.

AmeriCorps engages more than 80,000 men and women in intensive service each year through more than 15,000 nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and community and faith-based groups across the country. Since 1994 AmeriCorps has provided critical support to millions of Americans affected by tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, forest fires, terror attacks, and other natural and man-disasters, and is a vital resource in America’s emergency management infrastructure. For more information, please visit www.americorps.gov.