Doesn’t the WA National Guard have lawyers to provide legal assistance to the 81st Brigade?

Yes, but there are only 2 full-time Judge Advocates in place to provide legal services to unit members and their families. Additionally, the demands of mobilization and deployment tend to increase the demand for legal assistance services, particularly for family members who may not reside in close proximity to any military legal assistance office.

I’ve never volunteered at a Legal Clinic before … is this a good first-time opportunity?

Definitely! You will have the chance to assist clients who are getting ready to serve our country and will be very grateful to meet with a knowledgeable lawyer willing to “support the troops.”

My practice does not focus on the topics on your list. Can I still be of service?

Of course. Our list is merely illustrative, not exhaustive. Experience shows us that a broad variety of legal issues arise when a soldier is getting to deploy overseas for a lengthy period. Your general legal skills and knowledge of the system may be all that is required to spot a solution to the problem presented. In addition, we will provide free training. There’s work for you here!

I don’t think my office malpractice insurance applies to volunteer activities. Will we be covered?

Yes. Details to follow.

I want to help, but I don’t want to be acknowledged on any published volunteer list.

No problem! Just let us know.

I can’t attend the CLE in Seattle scheduled for the morning of Wednesday, July 9, 2008.

No worries. We are planning additional sessions and may be recording the CLE session for later rebroadcast on the WSBA LAMP Section website or via DVD-ROM. Please be assured that all training materials and handouts (e.g. sample forms) will be available free on the web.

I want to help, but not to be listed on any publicly visible volunteer list.

No problem. Just let us know.

Can I include a link to my firm’s website on the publicly visible volunteer list?

Sure, no problem!

FAQ for National Guard members (and family)

1. Who can use this legal assistance program?

Any Washington Army or Air National Guard member and their family (wife, husband, or other dependent with ID card) are eligible for this program. However, priority will be given to members and their families who have received notification of deployment as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), or other military deployment.

2. How do I make an appointment to see a lawyer?

(details are forthcoming)

3. Why can’t the lawyers on post take care of my legal problems?

While Fort Lewis and a few other Washington State military installations may have legal assistance offices, they are often short staffed and not conveniently located to National Guard members and their families. Additionally, the Washington National Guard Legal Office only has two full-time attorneys who usually are not available to provide legal assistance. To remedy the situation, the Washington National Guard has partnered with qualified lawyers who are members of the Washington State Bar Association who have volunteered to provide free legal assistance. These lawyers are citizens helping their fellow citizen-soldiers and their families.

4. What is the difference between AACF and the Staff Judge Advocate’s office on post?

You will receive legal assistance from a civilian attorney who is not employed by the Washington National Guard. While a few of the attorneys may be military reservists, most of the volunteer attorneys have little or no ties to the military and either have their own civilian practice or are employed by a civilian law firm.

5. Are consultations with the volunteer attorney confidential?

Yes, absolutely! All rules of client-attorney privilege apply. If you have any doubts, ask the lawyer for reassurance. The lawyer will be working for you. No information you have divulged to your attorney will be revealed to anyone else, including the National Guard, unless you specifically request disclosure.

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