This page is intended to provide veterans with resources that can assist them in seeking legal representation from outside sources that may be beyond the scope of the Penn State Law Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic (VSLC). The page also lists a few other helpful links to other outside resources that may be of interest to the veteran community.
Military Assistance Project
Headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Military Assistance Project (MAP) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established in 2011 to provide free legal services for active duty, reserve component, or veteran military personnel and their widow/spouses in the form of pro bono consumer and selected veteran’s administrative law services. The organization website’s explains its services for consumer issues and bankruptcy, and VA disability claims and appeals, and discharge upgrades.
American Bar Association Veterans' Claims Assistance Network
This volunteer service connects veterans in need with attorneys who can help them complete their initial VA disability claims.
American Bar Association Operation Home Front:
Operation Home Front is a program designed by the American Bar Association to assist veterans in finding legal help. The program links veterans with attorneys across the country who will provide legal services to veterans, many times at low or no cost. The website also includes a directory of programs organized by state.
Pennsylvania Bar Association Lawyers Saluting Veterans (LSV) Program: www.pabar.org/public/Lsv.asp
Through this special program, Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) members handle cases in their areas of practice or expertise on a wide range of issues for Pennsylvania's military veterans, free of charge. The PBA's Pro Bono Office and Military and Veterans' Affairs Committee coordinate the program.
Stateside Legal: www.statesidelegal.org/findinghelp
Stateside Legal is a comprehensive website for members of the military, veterans, their families and advocates. The goal is to help veterans access benefits, find free legal help, and better understand their legal issues.
Veterans Justice Outreach: www.va.gov/HOMELESS/VJO.asp
The purpose of the Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) Program is to avoid the unnecessary criminalization of mental illness and extended incarceration among veterans by ensuring that eligible justice-involved veterans have timely access to VHA services as clinically indicated. Veterans Justice Outreach specialists are responsible for direct outreach, assessment, and case management for justice-involved veterans in local courts and jails, and liaise with local justice system partners. Please note that the VA cannot provide legal services, but can direct veterans to eligible programs in the veteran’s local geographic region.
Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs:
https://www.dmva.pa.gov/veteransaffairs/Documents/Benefits-Booklet.pdf “Booklet of benefits and services for veterans and their beneficiaries in Pennsylvania”
http://www.milvet.state.pa.us/DMVA/Docs_BVA/dmvastatebenefits.pdf “Overview of benefits and services for veterans and their beneficiaries in Pennsylvania”
The VSLC works alongside several advocates at the local, state, and federal level in Pennsylvania. Particularly, the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) has provided great support to the VSLC by facilitating discussion on ways to improve and assist in the process for filing and representing veterans in the claims process. The DMVA does not provide legal assistance. However, the DMVA can be a great resource for Pennsylvania veterans by explaining how assistance through county veteran service officers, chartered veteran service organizations, and state service officers can be found with filing claims before the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The DMVA website also includes a helpful link to the 67 veteran service officers, chartered veteran service organizations, and state service officers.
Veteran Referral Form and Areas of Expertise: https://vetlex.org/veterans/
The VetLex platform provides an online tool for obtaining pro bono counsel for veterans’ specific legal needs, which could be civil, criminal, or administrative (benefit claims, for example). VetLex does not provide legal services; rather, it is an online cooperative system of intake, assessment, and referral envisioned to quickly and effectively connect veterans in need of legal services with those who stand ready to provide them. It also provides educational information on basic legal concepts, as well as a convenient repository for paperwork (like DD 214s) that are required multiple times by various service providers.
Note: The Clinic provides links only as a convenience and does not imply endorsement by Penn State Law.