Veterans, Military Servicemembers, and the Law won the ACLEA Award of Professional Excellence in 2019 because it filled a much-needed gap in resources for an underserved population. This important resource was the brainchild of the Military and Veterans Law Section of the Oregon State Bar. The section enlisted the publishing expertise of the OSB Legal Publications Department to make this important resource a reality. It highlights the vast military presence in Oregon, underscoring the need for legal resources to support our veterans and military. It also provides information about legal rights and benefits that may alter how you practice when your client or opponent is a veteran or military servicemember.
Two premises sparked the idea of Veterans, Military Servicemembers, and the Law. The first premise is that relatively few members of the Oregon bench and bar are veterans, and most have relatively little firsthand experience with the military or its unique issues. Post-9/11, our nation has been at war for nearly two decades in at least two theaters of operation. We have living veterans from at least six wars, going back to World War II. Many of those who fought and died were members of the Oregon National Guard. Despite the growing number of veterans, many lawyers in Oregon barely speak the military language. We do not know what to do to help veterans or where to get them help. Part of this reality may be due to the simple fact that Oregon is one of two states that have no active-duty military bases. As a consequence, many Oregonians are never exposed to military families or their unique needs. Active-duty support systems, including active-duty legal offices so familiar to military personnel, either do not exist in Oregon or are in short supply. We do have National Guard installations that offer services, but by comparison to other Northwest states, especially the State of Washington with its four major military installations, Oregon has little or none of the active-duty support systems that vets and military personnel were trained to rely on. In the parlance of our time, this is an access-to-justice issue, pure and simple.
The second premise is that Oregon lawyers could all help to bridge the gap in legal services if only they had a starting point to begin educating themselves about the military and about the unique challenges military members, veterans, and their families face in Oregon. Veterans, Military Servicemembers, and the Law is intended to be that starting point, especially for the lawyer who may not know one branch of service from another, one type of discharge from another, or the challenges veterans face in the work force, in the court system, within families, with the Veterans Administration, with medical providers, and elsewhere.
Who Is a Veteran?
Oregon’s Military Presence
Criminal Law for Veterans
Getting Military Records, and Witnesses: Privacy Act, FOIA, and Touhy Requests
The US Department of Veterans’ Affairs
State Veterans’ Benefits and Resources
Employment and Reemployment Rights
Helping Servicemembers on Active Duty and Veterans as Civil Litigants, Consumers, and Taxpayers
Family Law Issues
PTSD and TBI: Issues in Administrative and Criminal Forums
Veteran-Focused Service Organizations
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