Upcoming FREE Legal Clinics for Veterans
Legal Service Division
As veterans or current military members, Veterans Legal Institute®’s (VLI) clients have demonstrated bravery and dedication to the country, protecting it both at home and abroad. Many of our clients have served in combat, enduring significant physical, emotional, and psychological wounds in the process. All of VLI’s clients have been members of the United States Armed Forces, giving of themselves so that our nation can remain safe and strong.
Many current and former service members face true challenges transitioning into their civilian lives after their military service is over. A large portion of the challenges veterans face are legal in nature, from battling with the VA over compensation and pension claims to discharge upgrades to expungements of criminal convictions preventing them from gainful employment. To honor their service, VLI provides free legal services to low income veterans and military members in a number of critical areas which often result in real improvements in their lives. VLI is able to leverage its legal network who donate their services pro bono thereby providing exponential service hours to its clientele.
While we understand our services only begin to repay a debt of gratitude, VLI’s staff hopes to empower clients in achieving a greater measure of self-sufficiency, and with that, to experience the lives they deserve. Support begins with an attorney reviewing each potential client’s individual circumstances and any additional challenges he or she might face. We then work tirelessly to address the obstacles that are keeping our clients from the benefits they deserve.
VLI helps clients overcome the stigma and limited access to benefits that often come when discharges are classified as less than honorable. These types of discharges can add to the emotional trauma our clients unfortunately face too often, and may also limit the scope and amount of benefits the veteran is eligible to receive. VLI will assist the veteran prepare a petition packet and supporting evidence to submit to a board, and can stand before review boards on behalf of clients, providing a deeper understanding of aggravating circumstances. In most cases, veterans who attend a hearing with an attorney are five times more likely to prevail than if they just submit a written application on their own.
The goal is to secure discharge upgrades after reviewing entities further understand related complications. These can include trauma or mental illness stemming from multiple tours, sexual assaults that too often remain unaddressed in combat situations, and any pre-existing conditions that might have impacted discharges. With a just discharge upgrade, clients may gain peace of mind and unfettered access to the lives that are the right every American to fully and confidently enjoy.