Lawyer Referral and Information Service to Play Central Role in Coordinating Veteran’s Legal Services

VHUB-flyer-v1215In February 2014, BASF held its first ever San Francisco Veteran’s Summit which asked participants two fundamental questions:

What are the challenges for veterans in connecting with service providers about their civil legal needs, and what system can we create to better foster that connection?

The answer drawn from the diverse group of attendees which included the San Francisco Veterans Justice Court, the Veterans Administration, legal service providers, law firm pro bono coordinators, law school deans, law student veterans groups, and resource specialists, is centralizing legal referrals and personalizing the connection with the service provider.

Since the Summit, a partnership formed between BASF’s legal service programs (the Lawyer Referral and Information Service, Justice and Diversity Center and its Homeless Advocacy Project), the Golden Gate University School of Law’s Veterans Legal Advocacy Center, Swords to Plowshares, the Employment Law Center, and the Veterans Administration. This partnership creates a three-part HUB providing telephone, online, and in-person access to legal help for veterans.

Referrals are available for pro bono legal assistance in veteran’s benefits, discharge upgrades, family law, consumer debt, tax, eviction defense, housing, and employment.

For most every other area of the law, the LRIS offers its Military Assistance Program or M.A.P. for low-cost assistance. The V-HUB incorporates the idea of the “warm referral” with point persons designated to assist the veterans when they call. In this way, the V-HUB hopes to inaugurate an easy point of entry to the network of pro bono and low cost legal support available in our community with a structure to streamline assistance.

For now, the “V-HUB” or Veterans Legal Resource HUB assists San Francisco veterans only.

For a veteran you may wish to refer, the initial point of contact with the V-HUB will be via email or phone at the LRIS referral request page www.sfbar.org/lawyerreferrals/onlinereferral.aspx or 415-782-8909.

Veterans outside of San Francisco can still contact LRIS at its general phone line, 415-989-1616, and referrals will be made to agencies and lawyer referral service providers in their area.

For more information, please contact Carole Conn, LRIS Director of Public Service Programs, at cconn@sfbar.org or 415-782-8934.