Veterans' needs when they return from the military to civilian life can go beyond the obvious. Organizations hoping to help military personnel re-integrate into their communities can find plenty of niches where assistance would make a major difference – for instance, legal services could be inaccessible to veterans for reasons of time or money. Fortunately, organizations do exist to offer legal help to veterans and guide them safely through the challenges they may face.

Houston Bar actively helping vets.
Filing claims and having them approved can be a long and complex process, one that may require more time and money than veterans can summon without help. According to Houston Public Media, this is why lawyers' organizations such as the Houston Bar Association offer free legal advice and assistance clinics for veterans. Attorney Kevin Clark explained that he feels a sense of duty to help service members, and that has encouraged him to donate his time and expertise.

The kinds of cases solved by the legal helpers vary widely. The news provider gave examples including lawsuits over housing code violations, domestic cases and benefits claims. Individuals struggling with the challenges of leaving the military may lack the time and money to win their cases, even when they are in the right. This is why the free legal clinic is such a helpful option. The number of individuals served over its eight years in existence – 14,000 – is a clear indicator that the program appeals to a wide variety of veterans.

As with many plans established to assist vets with everyday needs, the legal clinics are made possible by outstanding efforts by volunteers. Houston Public Media reported that the Houston Bar's program has called on services from over 500 attorneys. By donating their time, these individuals closed more than 1,000 cases in the course of a year. These lawyers have provided more than 15,000 hours of legal services, making a big difference in the lives of local veterans. Having someone step in to assist with a case can lift a huge weight from a vet's shoulders.

National effort ramps up
The Houston Bar isn't the only part of the Bar Association making moves to help vets. According to the American Bar Association's official outlet, the ABA Journal, the organization's president Linda Klein has committed to new programs that will further solidify services for military members. A 20-person commission will decide which services will be added as part of the ABA Veterans Legal Services Initiative. The news provider reported that a new online portal and partnerships between lawyers and the medical community could be in the pipeline.

In addition to the above ideas, the Veterans Legal Services Initiative may include a new proposal for local bar associations and legal schools. Under this program, veterans will receive legal services from lawyers who are in training. The young legal professionals will receive valuable experience performing their duties, while the vets get assistance with any pending litigation or claims. Efforts such as these, implemented across the country, could make a huge difference for veteran populations.