The Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) recently announced the launch of its new Veterans Legal Initiative Program (“Veterans Initiative”), in an effort to provide free legal services to the men and women of the American armed forces and their families. The Veterans Initiative is part of HNBA National President Benny Agosto, Jr.’s “Year of the Advocate” and will organize HNBA members to volunteer at local Departments of Veterans’ Affairs, American Legion posts, and Veterans of Foreign Wars locations, as well as opening their own free legal clinics.
The Veterans Initiative seems even more appropriate now considering the recent return of the final American troops from Iraq, after nearly nine years of active duty. “The transition veterans face upon returning from war can seem overwhelming due to looming legal hardships,” said National President Benny Agosto, Jr. “For these veterans, relief from that burden can come from the opportunity to talk to a lawyer one on one. We, as lawyers, are in the unique position to provide help to these veterans. The time we volunteer is a small way to show our appreciation for the sacrifices these veterans make in service of their country.”
Through the help of volunteer attorneys, the Veterans Initiative will serve the veteran population in all of the HNBA’s 19 regions. The HNBA will provide training to its members and in turn these volunteers will serve as advisors and counselors to any veteran or spouse of a deceased veteran. The volunteer attorneys will counsel on a number of areas of the law including family, wills and probate, consumer, real estate and tax law, as well as disability and veterans benefits. No appointment will be necessary and those veterans who need ongoing legal representation and who qualify for legal aid will be referred to a pro bono attorney who can handle their case.