Denver Bar Association
November 2011
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Colorado Lawyers Step Up for Colorado Veterans

by Benjamin Currier, John Vaught

Colorado Lawyers Step Up for Colorado Veterans

Ben Currier
Currier
John Vaught
Vaught
A

 
ccess to justice for all Americans is an issue that is constantly evolving in an effort to meet the needs of those who cannot afford traditional legal services. With governmental budgets and outreach programs being pared, the communities that most rely on pro bono legal services are compelled to turn to individuals and to private initiatives to meet their ever-expanding need. Some groups have enjoyed success and are gaining access to justice through innovative means, but many have not. Among this latter group are our military veterans, active duty military personnel, and their families.

In an attempt to meet the needs of Colorado veterans and service members, the Colorado Bar Association is developing a statewide pro bono legal services initiative to provide legal service to Colorado veterans, some active duty service members, and their families— Colorado Lawyers for Colorado Veterans. This program is structured to provide free legal advice through clinics held around the state and also provide pro bono and low fee legal services to individuals who require further help.

Colorado Lawyers for Colorado Veterans will begin the first of many free clinics on Nov. 11 in Denver and Colorado Springs, and on Nov. 10 in Fort Collins.

It is estimated that one-third of the adult homeless population are veterans, and a vast number of other veterans also are in need of legal help but unable to afford and receive the assistance they desperately require. Many national reserve, retired, or otherwise discharged veterans do not have access to legal services. Active duty service members receive some assistance from the Judge Advocate General’s Corps; however, many still have legal issues and problems that are not met by the current active duty legal services and do not have the resources to afford legal services to solve their problems. Because of this, Colorado attorneys and the CBA are reaching out to help veterans with their legal needs and problems.

This program is consistent with the recommendations made by the Chief Justice Michael Bender, as part of the Chief Justice’s Commission on the Legal Profession. Modeled after a similar program in Texas, it is being led by a joint collaboration between the Commission, CBA President-elect Mark Fogg, John Vaught, CBA Young Lawyers Division Chair Benjamin Currier, CBA Executive Director Chuck Turner, and staff members of the DBA and CBA, including Carolyn Gravit, Heather Clark, and Denise Lynch.

The Denver event is scheduled to be held at the Bo Matthews Center, at 3030 Downing St., from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. This initial Denver event will be staffed by law students, young lawyers, and other Colorado attorneys. In addition to these volunteers, a Colorado-based service organization called Challenge America will be present to help guide veterans through the maze of other benefits available to them. This highly anticipated event is the first of many steps to try to serve the needs of Colorado veterans, one veteran at a time. D

We are currently searching for volunteers to assist for future clinics across the state. We also are looking for individuals who are willing to take on pro bono and low fee cases to help veterans in need. If you are interested in helping, please contact Carolyn Gravit at cgravit@cobar.org. We look forward to seeing you and helping with this new and exciting effort to provide pro bono legal services to Colorado veterans and service members.


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