About Us

Resources for Attorneys

El Paso Lawyers for Patriots was honored as a recipient of the 2012NABE/LexisNexis Community & Educational Outreach Award. Watch a video of the El Paso Lawyers for Patriots Free Legal Clinic Spring 2012.

How to Volunteer

Want to volunteer? There are several ways you can help veterans in need of legal services.

  1. Take a referral to help a veteran in your area.
    Interested in taking a pro bono case to help a veteran? Email ATJMail@texasbar.com for more information.
  2. Volunteer for a veterans’ legal clinic.
    Click here to find a veterans’ legal clinic in your area. No legal clinic in your area? Contact your local bar association about starting one. The State Bar will provide your local bar with everything it needs to get a veterans legal clinic started.
  3. Assist veterans with disability claims and other benefits issues.
    Click here to learn more about the process and attorney accreditation.
  4. Join a State Bar Section expert panel.
    The State Bar Sections are recruiting volunteer expert panels to provide an additional level of support to local bar association veterans clinics. Certain cases or legal questions may require expertise beyond what could reasonably be provided at the clinics and would be referred to the expert panels for assistance. Qualified attorneys are needed in family law, civil litigation, real estate, probate/estate planning, criminal law, civil and criminal appeals, administrative law, and military law. For more information or to volunteer, email sections@texasbar.com. In your email, please indicate the subject matter you are qualified to address.

  5. Section Volunteers and Areas of Expertise [PDF] Updated List

  6. Partnering for Pro Bono
    This web-based program pairs in-house attorneys with private practice attorneys so that, together, they can make a difference by working together on pro bono cases, including veterans' cases. For more information or to sign up, visit the TYLA website.

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Local Bar Association Clinics

Veterans’ legal clinics are a primary component of Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans, and they offer local bar associations the opportunity to provide veterans in their communities with the basic civil legal assistance they need. The Houston Bar Association, which has hosted veterans’ legal clinics since 2008, has given invaluable assistance to the State Bar in providing its knowledge and resources to help other local bars establish their own clinics.

Civil practice areas covered in veterans legal clinics include but are not necessarily limited to Bankruptcy, Child Support, Consumer/Contracts, Divorce or Custody/Guardianship/Probate, Landlord/Tenant, Wills/Estate Planning, Employment, Housing, and Tax.

Pro bono clinics for veterans are available in all metropolitan areas of the state, including Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio, as well as in smaller communities, such as Bastrop, Beaumont, Denton, Galveston, and Midland-Odessa.

TLTV Legal Clinics

TLTV-related Websites
Determine Veterans’ Needs in Your Area

Contact the leadership in your county, city, or region, as well as your nearest Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) facility or Veterans of Foreign Wars or American Legion post, to help determine the need for veterans’ legal services in your area and to establish support for a clinic.

How to Start a Veterans’ Legal Clinic
Clinic in a Box

Local bar associations can request a free “Clinic in a Box,” which contains everything an organization need to host a veterans’ legal clinic — forms, folders, signs, office supplies, etc.

Clinic in a Box Contents [PDF]

To download the Clinic in a Box Printed Materials:

For substantive law guides, visit www.texaslawyershelp.org.
For VA Attorney Accreditation information, click here

To request a complete Clinic in a Box, email Lindsey Ratcliff at lratcliff@texasbar.com, (800) 204-2222, ext. 1517.

State Bar Sections Provide Expert Assistance
The State Bar of Texas Sections are recruiting volunteer expert panels to provide an additional level of support to local bar association veterans clinics. Certain cases or legal questions might require a level of expertise beyond what could reasonably be provided at the clinics and would be referred to the Section expert panels to assist in the matter or help find an attorney willing to assist. State Bar Sections are providing experts in most major substantive areas. If you would like to participate as an expert, email sections@texasbar.com.

Section Volunteers and Areas of Expertise [PDF] Updated List

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VA Attorney Accreditation

Get an overview of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs appeals process.

Attorneys who want to assist with claims for Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) benefits before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals or VA Regional Offices must be accredited by the VA.

From the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website: “Accreditation means authority is granted by the VA to assist claimants in the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims for benefits. 38 C.F.R. § 14.627(a). Unaccredited individuals may provide other services to veterans so long as they do not assist in the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims for benefits.”

VA website links regarding the accreditation process

General Information

FAQ

VA Accreditation Form 21a [PDF]

The initial accreditation requirements for attorneys include the following:
  1. Application to VA General Counsel (see link above for VA Form 21a). The accreditation process can take from four to six weeks.
  2. Self-certification of admission information concerning practice before any other court, bar, or State or Federal agency.
  3. Affirmative determination of character and fitness by VA (presumed by VA based on State bar membership in good standing).
  4. Notice: Attorneys must be accredited with the VA prior to completing required CLE. Complete 3 hours of CLE during first 12-month period following date of initial VA accreditation. Course must be approved by any state bar association, and must cover the following topics at a minimum:  1) Representation before VA, 2) Claims procedures, 3) Basic eligibility for VA benefits, 4) Right to appeal, 5) Disability compensation, 6) Dependency and indemnity compensation, and 7) Pension. Must certify in writing to Office of General Counsel upon completion.
Post-accreditation requirements:
  1. Complete additional 3 hours of qualifying CLE on veterans benefits law and procedures (not later than 3 years after initial accreditation, and every 2 years thereafter). Certify completion of post-accreditation CLE requirements in writing to Office of General Counsel upon completion.
  2. Annually, submit to VA information about any court, bar, or Federal or State agency to which attorney is admitted to practice or appear, and certification of good standing.

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Attorney Training and CLE

List of VA Accreditation Courses/DVDs:

NOTICE: Attorneys must be accredited with the VA prior to completing required CLE.

Representing Service Members and Veterans
MCLE Credit: 6 hrs. On-Demand Audio
National Business Institute CLE for Professionals. This basic-to-intermediate level seminar is designed for attorneys who are interested in representing active and retired military personnel. This course takes you through the core areas of legal representation most relevant to soldiers and veterans, and offers practical instruction for resolving common problems.
Click here to register

TexasBarCLE
The Basics of Veterans Benefits Law (online class)
MCLE Credit: 3 hrs.
MCLE No. 901205325
Click here to register

TexasBarCLE    
The Basics of Veterans Benefits Law: Part II (online class)
MCLE Credit: 3 hrs.
MCLE No. 901256885
Click here to register

Military Service and the Law DVD/CLE
From the American Bar Association. Provides 6.5 hours of CLE credit. Learn how to provide expert guidance in assisting veterans with legal issues.

Advocating for Veterans: The Basics on Benefits, Discharge Upgrades and Cultural Competency
Free on-demand webinar from the Practicing Law Institute that addresses the following issues: 1) veterans are not aware of the benefits to which they are entitled; 2) injuries, both mental and physical, that are not “connected to service” by a proper paper trail; and 3) veterans who received less than a fully honorable discharge for behaviors that were related to PTSD or minor disciplinary infractions and the status of their discharge makes them ineligible for benefits. Approved for CLE credit in Texas: 6.25 hours.

Elder Counsel
Provides VA Accreditation Course, both online and live.

LexisNexis Veterans Benefits Advocacy DVD
The training provided by this DVD meets the VA’s attorney accreditation requirements. Presented by Ron Abrams and Bart Stichman, co-directors of National Veterans Legal Services Program, this 6-hour DVD offers legal, administrative, and practical guidance on why and how attorneys can consider expanding their practice to represent veterans before the VA.

Veterans Information Services, Inc.
Offers educational online webinars on VA accreditation

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Other Veterans Law Courses/Materials:

Veterans Issues — TenMinuteMentor.com
Free webinars, downloads, or podcasts featuring sessions from the El Paso Bar Association’s comprehensive two-day CLE, “Legal Issues Affecting Veterans, Retirees, Active Duty Military, and Their Family Members,” May 21-22, 2011, at Fort Bliss, El Paso. Go to TenMinuteMentor home page, click on “View Index by Category,” then “Veterans Issues.”

Texas Veterans Legal Assistance Project Webinars
One-hour CLE webinars on various topics related to veterans law issues; usually held weekly. Email Texas Legal Services Center at cle@tlsc.org for more information on upcoming seminars.

Elder Law: Obtaining Veterans Benefits and Funding Long-Term Care
MCLE Credit: 6 hrs.
National Business Institute CLE for Professionals. On-demand video. With growing numbers of baby boomers entering retirement age and thousands of U.S. soldiers returning home, the need and new opportunities exist for long-term planning for health and continuing care benefits.
Click here to register

Obtaining Veterans Benefits
MCLE Credit: 1.5 hrs.
National Business Institute CLE for Professionals. On-demand video. Provides a general overview of veterans' benefits, appeals of VA claims decisions, and issue spotting and points of interest.
Click here to register

TexasBarCLE
Family Law in the Military Combat Zone
MCLE Credit: 2 hours
MCLE No. 901204438
Online course. From the “Family Law in the Military Combat Zone” webcast, recorded July 2009.
Click here to register.

TexasBarCLE
Military Law Update: Current Issues Facing Servicemembers
MCLE Credit: 2 hours
MCLE No. 901204309
Online course. Covers the interplay of civilian and military law, family law, military justice, civil litigation, labor and employment law, and VA issues.
Click here to register.

TexasBarCLE
Military Issues in Civil Law Webcast
MCLE Credit: 2 hrs.
MCLE No. 901210185
Free to those who volunteer at a veterans legal clinic or take one pro bono case serving a veteran in the coming year.
Approved for State Bar College Credit and Texas Board of Legal Specialization Credit in Civil Trial Law.
Click here to register

Rotunda's Military and Veteran's Law
By Kyndra Rotunda, Associate Professor of Military & International Law and Executive Director of the Military Law & Policy Institute & AMVETS Legal Clinic
Comprehensive and accessible to lawyers and students with military experience and also for those who do not have a military background, but are interested in representing military troops or veterans.

Helpful Resources

Veterans Resources
General Legal Resources
Other State Bar Veterans/Military Programs
Practice Area Resources
Articles

Attorneys as First-Responders [PDF] Recognizing the Destructive Nature of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder on the Combat Veteran’s Legal Decision-Making Process, by Captain Evan R. Seamone.

The Veterans’ Lawyer as Counselor [PDF] Using Therapeutic Jurisprudence to Enhance Client Counseling for Combat Veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, by Captain Evan R. Seamone.

Texas Family Law in the Military Combat Zone, by Donald L. Williams

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Media and News

Find press releases and news related to Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans and veterans issues.

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