VA Secretary Denis McDonough and Senator Van Hollen Join LSC for Release of Veterans Task Force Report
WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation’s (LSC) Veterans Task Force will release its report on May 25 from 1-2:30 p.m. EDT at a virtual forum featuring leaders from the veterans and legal communities.
Civil legal assistance for veterans is of vital importance. LSC’s 2017 Justice Gap Report found that 71% of low-income households with veterans or other military personnel had experienced a civil legal problem within the past year. Of those households, 21% reported experiencing six or more legal problems. Approximately 1.3 million veterans are eligible for LSC-funded legal aid.
LSC’s Veterans Task Force has worked for more than a year in collaboration with its pro bono partner, DLA Piper, to identify ways to strengthen the relationship between legal aid providers and other veterans-serving organizations. The report highlights best practices and model programs that provide effective, integrated services to veterans and offers tips for replicating successful programs. It also offers recommendations for engaging attorneys to provide legal assistance on a pro bono basis.
“The opportunity to participate on the LSC Veterans Task Force has been both eye-opening and rewarding," said Jim Brogan, a veteran and DLA Piper partner. "Confusion, barriers, and lack of coordination among service providers unfortunately make it difficult, and in some cases near impossible, for a veteran to obtain services theoretically available from a variety of federal, state and private agencies. By bringing representatives of these organizations together and engaging in thoughtful discourse, the Task Force is closing in on recommendations and action points to improve the delivery of services our veterans so richly deserve.”
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough and Senator Chris Van Hollen (MD) will provide opening remarks at the report release event. They will be joined by Jill Brown-Williams, a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard and a board member of the Homeless Persons Representation Project; Lieutenant General (ret.) Charles Hooper, senior counselor, The Cohen Group; and Frank Ryan, Americas Chair, DLA Piper LLP.
Following their remarks, a panel of experts will highlight the report’s key recommendations for increasing veterans’ access to civil legal aid. LSC’s President Ronald S. Flagg will moderate the discussion featuring task force members:
- Dr. David Joseph, clinical director, Oakland Vet Center
- Stephen B. Moss, partner, Holland & Knight, and founding director, Mission United of Broward County
- Nicole Perez, managing attorney, Ron Olson Justice Center, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles
- Judge Robert T. Russell Jr., Buffalo Veterans Treatment Court
The Veterans Task Force co-chairs will also speak at the event: David D. Halverson, chairman and CEO, Cypress International and a member of LSC’s Leaders Council; Abigail Lawlis Kuzma, LSC board member and Halbrook Distinguished Chair of American Government, Taylor University; and John G. Malcolm, LSC board member and Vice President, Heritage Foundation, Institute for Constitutional Government.
“Our goal from the outset was to draw upon the voices of and resources available to veterans across the country, and discuss in a clearheaded way the challenges they face and needs they have — legally, socially, emotionally — as they transition from the military and reenter civilian life," said Rich Hans, a veteran and DLA Piper partner. "Learning from what has worked in certain quarters and in the more innovative support programs, we hope to share thoughts and ideas about how we as a nation and legal profession may better advance the interests of those who served us.”
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.