NAPABA_logoIn the upcoming Arizona Attorney Magazine, I talk about a national legal event coming to our state—the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association convention. More to come soon.

But in the meantime, convention organizers are putting together an event that helps military personnel. Your help may be needed—and you need not be a convention registrant to step up.

Attorney Jared Leung is President of AAABA, the Arizona affiliate. And he has issued a call for help. When are you needed? Sunday, Nov. 9, from 7 am to noon.

What’s happening? NAPABA is donating money and volunteer hours to assist Phoenix-based “Packages from Home.” Attendees will assemble 300 care boxes of comfort foods for military men and women stationed overseas.

As Jared says:

“The Project is absolutely wonderful, as we are packing food boxes for military men and women based overseas. These boxes must be packed in a certain way and inspected carefully because of security and shipping reasons. You will receive training on-site and assist others volunteers, who are attendees of the Convention from all over the country. You do not need to have registered for the NAPABA Convention to volunteer in this event, and we encourage you to bring a friend, family member, or significant other to come as well.”

See the flyer below for more information.

For more information or to RSVP to lend your assistance, contact Jared at jleung@fclaw.com.

More detail about the Convention is here.

AAABA Packages From Home event

court rule aids lawyers who are military spouses

This month in Arizona Attorney, we published an article on assistance now available for lawyers who are married to active-duty servicemembers.

Given how unpopular taking a bar exam is for most lawyers, I cannot imagine the challenge of following a military spouse around the country, where you would face varying admissions rules and exams. It would be enough to go inactive.

And that’s exactly what has faced many attorneys, and state supreme courts have been listening—thanks largely to a few women who have raised the issue nationwide. And among those people are two woman with Tucson ties named Mary Reding and Rachel Winkler.

Former Tucson resident Mary Reding, founder of the Military Spouse JD Network.

Former Tucson resident Mary Reding, founder of the Military Spouse JD Network.

Together, Reding and Winkler started the Military Spouse JD Network, “a national association that works to find solutions to the challenges of lawyers who happen to have military spouses.”

Read a great story about their work here.

And you can Like the network on Facebook here.

Our Arizona Attorney story is one written by Rodney Glassman. He is a lawyer and airman, and he describes well the changed Arizona rule that makes our state a leader in assisting military spouses.

Read Rodney’s article here.

And here is a list of requirements in the Arizona rule.

court rules aids military spouses bullet points

Law for Veterans website screen shotLast Friday, as folks were clearing out of work and looking forward to a holiday weekend, staffers at the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services & Education were putting the final touches on a new website—one dedicated to aiding veterans and their families.

LawforVeterans.org is a creation of the Arizona Supreme Court, in cooperation with the AZFLS&E and the Military Legal Assistance Committee of the State Bar of Arizona.

The site aims to be a “one-stop clearinghouse for access to legal and other important veteran benefit information,” providing legal information, articles, resources and forms.

The Court explains that the site features 10 specialty subject areas “ranging from identity theft to employment law. There are sections with helpful Q&A topics as well as a place to ask legal questions, find a lawyer, or locate other resources veterans might need.”

The site “will be the public face of a broader support network.” The Court announced that more than 270 volunteer legal professionals will “respond to questions and help match veterans with the resources they need.”

Hon. Rebecca White Berch

Hon. Rebecca White Berch

Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch says, “Veterans Day 2013 marks the initial public launch of the site, but we realize the site itself is a platform upon which we will build and add content, based on the needs and input of veterans and service providers that stand ready to assist them.”

Polsinelli attorney Kris Carlson is cheered by the website’s creation. He is a former Green Beret and co-chair of the Military/Veterans Group of the American Health Lawyers Association Behavioral Task Force. He views the site as a great resource.

“‘Law for Veterans’ is absolutely fantastic,” Carlson says. “This resource was badly needed.  Transitioning from the military into civilian life can be difficult. Behaviors that kept the service member alive during time of war are not easily forgotten, and some can leave veterans at a disadvantage when re-integrating into civilian life.”

Carlson continues, “The site’s comprehensive approach can provide assistance to Arizona’s men and women veterans in many critical areas as they struggle to leave the war behind them.”

Many veterans struggle with reintegration into civilian life, which can be difficult. As a result, some may become involved in the criminal justice system; claims denials; insurance problems; family law issues; or physical, mental or substance abuse challenges.

Kris Carlson, Polsinelli

Kris Carlson, Polsinelli

AZFLS&E CEO Kevin Ruegg says, “The Foundation is thrilled to have the Supreme Court entrust us with this project and very grateful for the partnership with the Bar’s Military Legal Assistance Committee. We hope to accomplish two things: furthering our mission of promoting access to justice for all Arizonans, and assuring our veterans know that we understand that our justice system would not be here without their fight for this country’s freedoms.”

Staffers at the Foundation who led the rollout effort included Public Legal Information Manager Kim Bernhart and CTO Al Flores, along with Lara Slifko and Dan Hall. Bernhart points to this effort as another in a successful line of sites launched by the Foundation, including Law for Seniors and Law for Kids.

Brigadier General Gregg Maxon (ret.) is a special adviser to the Administrative Office of the Courts, where he assists jurisdictions in their efforts to create veterans courts. The Supreme Court said he was “a key advocate in the planning and development” of the new website.

Among the data he gathered:

  • 2.4 million men and women served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • 1.44 million are now eligible for V.A. health care.
  • 774,000 have obtained V.A. health care.
  • Of those receiving treatment, 52 percent are diagnosed with mental disorders such as PTSD, depression and substance abuse.

“A unified treatment and rehabilitation approach brings better results,” says General Maxon. “Through partnerships with the Department of Veterans Affairs and local, state or national non-profits and community-based organizations, we can honor our veterans with the resources they deserve.”

Vice Chief Justice Scott Bales adds, “Courts and the legal community are recognizing that we can better serve certain populations by tailoring website content and court services to meet their needs. Our veterans deserve this help. We don’t want them hurting, alone or in trouble with nowhere to turn.”

The Court encourages businesses, government agencies, chambers of commerce, associations, and non-profits to add a link to www.LawForVeterans.org.

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorThe State Bar of Arizona is now at the end of its multi-week campaign to help military servicemembers get the legal assistance they need. (Read more about it here.)

The strain of deployment isn’t just felt by servicemembers. Military families live with the pressures of war thousands of miles away. Lengthy separations, the realities of single parenting, financial stress, constant worry for loved ones’ safety, and difficult communications—these all take a toll that is sometimes irreparable.

Military families need local legal assistance.

What should be a joyful reunion can turn painful when family life becomes an unexpected casualty of war. The life they thought they were getting back, in some cases, has ceased to exist. Military families often need local legal help or mediation to face failing marriages, custody and child support issues, and the division of assets.

ArmyOneSource logoSometimes they need help moving forward.

An attorney from their community who understands the intricacies of the state and federal laws affecting military personnel and family law is the kind of advocate military families need most.

Attorneys may sign up here.

Follow the initiative on Twitter.

ArmyOneSource logoHere is another in a series of news items related to an initiative of the State Bar to help fill the legal needs of recently deployed military personnel. (Read more about it here.)

Tomorrow, I have a JAG item and other news that may affect attorneys you might know. But first, today’s news:

When legal issues arise at home, servicemembers are often unable to find the help they need. The aid and advice of a trusted attorney located in or near their home community can be a lifeline of support.

JAG Corps attorneys can only provide limited counsel.

Military families may need assistance dealing with divorce, child custody, bankruptcy, probate and financial issues. Attorneys in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAGs) are able to provide limited counsel to servicemembers, but heavy caseloads and numerous demands compete for their time. 

When servicemembers return, they need legal help near their home communities.

Only 37 percent of military families live on installations; the remaining 63 percent live in more than 4,000 communities nationwide. Our troops need legal assistance closer to home. Give them someone to turn to for help.

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorLearn how you can help Servicemembers in your community.

Attorneys may sign up here.

Follow the initiative on Twitter.

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorThis is week 4 in the State Bar of Arizona effort to assist formerly deployed military servicemembers. (You can read more about it here.)

Over the next two years, large numbers of servicemembers will return home from deployment. Coming home from combat can present a difficult reintegration with family, friends and community. Many will face legal issues, increasing the overall demand for military legal assistance.

Help make military legal assistance available for returning servicemembers.

ArmyOneSource logoWaves of returning servicemembers will strain existing military legal assistance programs. Civilian attorneys can help meet the growing need by becoming a part of the State Bar of Arizona’s statewide effort to increase access to military legal assistance.

Help servicemembers, veterans and their families resolve their legal issues.

More attorneys are needed to assist with:

  • Family law
  • Finance/banking
  • Employment
  • Health care
  • Immigration
  • Elder law

Learn how you can provide critical legal services to our returning servicemembers.

To sign up, go here.

Follow the effort on Twitter.

ArmyOneSource logoOver the past month, I have shared information from a collaboration of the State Bar of Arizona in an initiative to assist military personnel who were formerly deployed. As the organizers point out, those former servicemembers may face numerous challenges, including legal obstacles.

The campaign recommends ways that Arizona lawyers may get involved.

In the multi-week information campaign, this week’s message relates to the important matter of jobs, specifically as it relates to the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. (Read our previous Arizona Attorney Magazine coverage of the Act here).

As the campaign’s organizers say:

Servicemembers return home from deployment believing their jobs are waiting for them. For some, the joy of coming home is short lived when they find their employer has replaced them.

After serving their country, their jobs should be waiting.

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) prohibits employer discrimination because of military service and protects job rights and benefits for servicemembers.

Many employers are not aware of these protections.

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorUSERRA provides protection for:

  • Military leave of absence
  • Job seniority
  • Status
  • Pay and benefits
  • Promotion and pension
  • Disability as a result of military service

Returning servicemembers are entitled to jobs comparable to their peers whose careers were not interrupted by military service. Employers are required to make reasonable efforts to upgrade the skills of returning employees so they can qualify for the positions they would have earned had they not left for military service.

Learn how you can help protect their employment rights.

To sign up, go here.

Follow the effort on Twitter.

ArmyOneSource logoThis month, the State Bar of Arizona launches a collaboration with an organization committed to making legal service more available to former military personnel. Here is news about how you can participate and lend a hand.

Since 9/11, many of those deployed have been National Guard or Reserve component servicemembers. They leave behind jobs, families, friends and civilian life to face the stress of combat, long deployments, and painful reintroductions to everyday life.

Coming home can mean facing difficult changes, reemployment and financial challenges, stressful family conditions, and in many cases legal issues that developed while on deployment. Help them face their legal battles at home.

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorBecome a part of the State Bar of Arizona’s statewide effort to make military legal assistance more accessible.

Here are some of the ways you can help:

  • Represent – Provide pro bono or reduced-rate legal representation
  • Advise – Listen and offer direction and advice on legal issues
  • Mentor – Assist another attorney or supervise a law student in a legal clinic
  • Educate – Present a workshop at a Yellow Ribbon, Drill Weekend, or other event

Please help make military legal assistance available throughout the state.

To sign up, go here.

Follow the effort on Twitter.

 

This evening, an annual legal event takes place that may slip past you unnoticed: The St. Thomas More Society Red Mass. (It will be at St. Mary’s Basilica, 231 N. 3rd St., Phoenix, at 5:30 pm.)

The Society is an association of Catholic lawyers. The Catholic Mass they host annually has been held since the Middle Ages. In it, judges, lawyers, law school professors, students and others worship together. As Wikipedia indicates, those at the Mass request guidance from the Holy Spirit for all who seek justice. The event offers “the opportunity to reflect on what Catholics believe is the God-given power and responsibility of all in the legal profession.”

Of interest this year is the priest who has been invited to offer the sermon. Timothy Broglio is “Archbishop of the Military Services, USA.” For those who are not in the church and were wondering, Yes, the Catholic Church does have a leader focused on that particular part of the international congregation. Its website is here.

Coat of arms of the Archdiocese

According to the Archdiocese:

“The Archdiocese for the Military Services was created by Pope John Paul II to provide the Catholic Church’s full range of pastoral ministries and spiritual services to those in the United States Armed Forces. This includes more than 220 installations in 29 countries, patients in 153 V.A. Medical Centers, and federal employees serving outside the boundaries of the USA in 134 countries. Numerically, the AMS is responsible for more than 1.5 million men, women, and children.”

More on this special Archdiocese is here.

Archbishop Timothy Broglio at Al Asad Airbase, Iraq

Archbishop Broglio has served and studied around the world, including in Rome, Paraguay, Ivory Coast, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. He has been Archbishop of the Military Services since November 2007. (Read more about him here.)

(I will be unable to attend the Mass, but I’d appreciate hearing from someone who does; I am curious about Archbishop Broglio’s message. I wrote last year about an event sponsored by the St. Thomas More Society.)

Thanks to attorney Denise Blommel for the reminder about the Mass. (Denise is an employment law attorney. More about her and her practice is here.)

Archbishop Timothy Broglio

 

It has become a welcome staple of many civic events on the Fourth of July to read the Declaration of Independence aloud. Events like that gather students, teachers, community leaders and others in a shared recitation of one of our nation’s essential documents.

This week, I came across one of the most poignant examples of this. In this video, watch as the document is read by military personnel stationed at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. They include sailors, soldiers, a Marine, an airman, and a U.S. civilian contractor, all reading this year.

Happy Independence Day.