Veterans Day Forum to Explore Legal Aid’s Importance to Veterans and Military Families

November 4, 2019

NEW YORK – Experts will discuss the importance of civil legal services to veterans and military families at a Veterans Day Forum at New York University School of Law on Monday, November 11, organized by the Legal Services Organization (LSC). The forum will feature three panels highlighting how legal aid can remove barriers to veterans’ well-being and financial stability.  

Nearly 1.8 million veterans are eligible for LSC-funded legal services. A 2017 report found that 71% of low-income households with veterans or military families had experienced a civil legal problem in the past year, including 21% that experienced more than six problems. These include critical issues such as foreclosure, eviction, consumer fraud, child custody, and wrongful denial of benefits. Local legal aid offices act as an important gateway to getting veterans the help that they need. These offices also partner with corporate counsel, veterans’ associations, advocates, and other service providers for outreach efforts and to expand legal services.

New York University Law Dean Trevor Morrison will deliver opening remarks. LSC Board Chair John G. Levi will announce the launch of a national taskforce devoted to veterans’ services. ABA President Judy Perry Martinez and Abdiel Joseph, General Managing Partner and Financial Advisor for the Promenade Group will also provide remarks.

The first panel, “How Corporate Counsel and Civil Legal Services Organizations' Pro Bono Projects Serve Veterans,” will explore the ways pro bono efforts can ensure that veterans receive the legal help they need. The panelists will include Nicole M. Perez, Managing Attorney, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles; Lisa Rafferty, Vice President, Legal Affairs, Fox Television Stations, LLC; Dao Sun, Senior Staff Attorney, Legal Services New York City; and Peter Beshar, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Marsh & McLennan Companies. LSC President Jim Sandman will moderate the discussion.

The next panel, “Medical Legal Partnerships Operating in Veterans Affairs' Medical Centers” will focus on how attorneys embedded in healthcare facilities can address and prevent civil legal problems that affect veterans’ health. The panelists will include Samantha Kubek, Staff Attorney, LegalHealth Division, New York Legal Assistance Group; Cindy Johnson, Deputy Director, Connecticut Veterans Legal Center; and Dr. Jack Tsai, Ph.D., Research Director, National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Director, Yale Division of Mental Health Services and Treatment Outcomes Research Among Veterans. LSC Board Member Abigail Lawlis Kuzma will serve as moderator.

The final panel, “Innovative Civil Legal Services Programs and Projects Serving Veterans,” will highlight new strategies for helping military families and veterans. The panelists will include Nicole Massey, Veterans Attorney, Land of Lincoln Legal Aid; Maureen Siedor, Legal Director, Swords to Plowshares; and Esther Leibfarth, Staff Attorney, Lawyers Serving Warriors, National Veterans Legal Services Program. LSC’s Vice President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel Ronald Flagg will moderate the discussion.

The forum will begin at 9:30 a.m. in New York University Law School’s Greenberg Lounge, 40 Washington Square S.  Members of the press are invited to attend.

The event will also be livestreamed. To view it, visit LSC’s Facebook page or Twitter page during the event or follow the conversation online at #LSCveterans.

Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The Corporation currently provides funding to 132 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.