Law Firms Play Key Roles in Supporting the U.S. Military and Veterans

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Our military men and women are critical to the freedoms and way of life that we as U.S. citizens enjoy. The U.S. military consists of current troops and service members: Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Guard and all Reservists; veterans and veterans' organizations such as The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), and others; POWs (Prisoners of War); those still MIA (Missing in Action); past and present Judge Advocate General's Corps members (JAGs); and all the other civil servants who the military employs and those who support active military service members and veterans worldwide.

Without these millions of people and their commitment, effort, work, sacrifice, service and dedication--as well as the loving support of their spouses, children, parents, friends and other backers--our Republic and democracy as we know it and our cherished freedoms would not exist as they do today. As one member of The Patriot Guard (a group of veterans and other volunteers who honor fallen military heroes nationwide) perfectly summarized: "America is the land of the free, because of the brave."

Throughout history, lawyers have played integral roles at many levels to help support the U.S. military and veterans, even in the highest elected role within the U.S. government. Of all the men who served as President of the United States, approximately 26 were or are lawyers, and 21 of them served in the U.S. military.

Today, approximately 20 percent of the members of the U.S. Congress have served in the military, and approximately 35 percent are lawyers. Many senators and congressmen who are lawyers have worked in outside law firms or as in-house counsel either before being elected to serve or after their government service ends.

In addition, many who currently serve or have served in the administrative branches of government (at federal, regional, state and/or local levels) are also lawyers.

According to Todd Breasseale, Lt. Colonel, U.S. Army, who currently serves as a member of the Department of Defense's Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon, "Lawyers in the military have always been an invaluable resource, but today, more than ever, they are highly valued advisors to commanders at the tactical, operational and strategic levels. For instance, in our efforts in Afghanistan, judge advocates guide our Rule of Law mission, working in the areas of 'courts, cops and corrections' to encourage the development of professional institutions consistent with a healthy democracy."

Private law firms of all sizes and lawyers of all types also help support the military. This may not be in any official governmental capacity, but through formal representation, pro bono representation and efforts, charitable contributions, employment assistance, employee volunteer programs and in other ways.

The majority of law firms that formally represent members of the military, veterans and their families are in the small to mid-size range, which allows them to maintain a lower hourly rate structure and more flexibility regarding flat and fixed fees for certain types of legal work.

One Michigan-based law firm, Legal Help for Veterans PLLC, represents veterans and their families in disability claims such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), orthopedic issues, surviving spouse pensions and other issues.

Managing Partner Jim Fausone said, "We are a national law firm, helping almost 1,000 veterans in all 50 states with VA disability claims."

Legal Help for Veterans PLLC is unique in that Brigadier General (ret.) Carol Ann Fausone, who served in the U.S. Air Force for 34 years in various capacities, assists in the practice. She said, "As a nurse and a veteran, I believe it is critical that the nation keep its commitment to protect those who have protected us through their service. …