Veterans Law Practice: Veterans Lawyers ignored once again.By Chris Attig | Permalink
March 30th in VA Benefits.
Friends, Colleagues, and Veterans:
Texas Lawyer is currently seeking nominations for “Go To Guides” for Texas Lawyers. Once again, a major organization with high visibility in the legal field has excluded the practice area of Veterans Law.
I mention this for a very practical reason. Over the next 3-5 years, we will have tens of thousands of Veterans returning from combat – combat that is not like any war our nation has fought.
* In Vietnam, 3.4 million veterans served in the theatre of operations over 11 years.
* In Iraq and Afghanistan combined, a little over 2,000,000 soldiers have fought on 2 fronts over 8-11 years. (As pointed out in many places, fewer Veterans have fought longer wars than at any other time in our history)
* At least 1 in 10 of our Iraq/Afghanistan Veterans will have a mental health condition such as PTSD
* At least 2 in 10 of our Iraq/Afghanistan Veterans will have a Traumatic Brain Injury
* At least half of our Iraq/Afghanistan Veterans will need ongoing and continuous medical care<
* Over 13,000 of our Iraq/Afghanistan Veterans are homeless. Iraq and Afghanistan Vets make up 10% of homeless Veteran population despite being only 5% of the “Veteran population”.
* Crimes committed by combat Veterans between the ages of 18 and 30 are on the rise.
Looking at these statistics, the tens of thousands of Veterans returning from combat service will need legal help – and a lot of it. They will need help with VA benefits, with family issues in family courts, guardianship and probate court issues, health insurance issues, housing, social security, employment and pay issues, criminal issues and so much more.
As it stands now, there are not enough attorneys that practice in Veterans Benefits to support the sheer volume of legal issues presented by our returning Veterans. Sure, there are probably plenty of family and criminal lawyers out there, but how many understand and grasp the unique needs and situations of our Iraq/Afghanistan Veterans? Very, very few. I get phone calls every week from attorneys – very accomplished in their own right – who need help understanding their Veteran client’s situation or their Veteran client’s legal needs.
As long as organizations like Lexis-Nexis (Martindale Hubbell), Texas Lawyer, the American Bar Association, and Avvo (to name just a few) refuse to recognize the legal practice area of Veterans Benefits, it is very difficult to convince other attorneys to join this fight. Despite exhaustive efforts over the past 3 years, I have personally recruited only 3 attorneys to the Veterans Law practice area.
My # 1 obstacle – convincing young and energetic attorneys that Veterans Law is a recognized and viable practice area. This will not begin to change until a national or state attorney’s group publicly recognizes and acknowledges the Veterans Law Practice area, or a major publication covers the practice area, or a major law firm starts a Veterans Law Practice area.
Help me convince organizations like Texas Lawyer to add a Veterans Law practice area to their ”Go To Guide”. Who knows – maybe next year they’ll change their mind and add a Veterans Law Practice area to their “Super Lawyer” lists.
I have to stress this – I am NOT asking you to nominate me – this is NOT a bid for my glory.
Nominate any – or every – attorney you know that practices Veterans Law or who has helped Veterans with their legal needs. In fact, the more different attorneys that are nominated, the better. Heck, nominate them if they are outside of Texas, too. Let’s flood Texas Lawyer with so many recommendations that they are forced to ask the question “What is this Veterans Law practice area?”.
Here is the link to the nomination site: