NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT VINCENT E.
DOYLE III CREATES COMMITTEE TO ADDRESS LEGAL NEEDS OF VETERANS
ALBANY—Recognizing the increasing unmet legal needs of military
veterans and active service members, New York State Bar Association
President Vincent E. Doyle III has created the Special Committee on
Veterans to find innovative ways to expand critical legal assistance to
“The theme of the State Bar this year is ‘Justice for
All.’” said Doyle of Buffalo (Connors & Vilardo).
“This includes veterans and military personnel--they should be
treated fairly by the legal system, and not suffer as a result of their
service. Sadly, too many come home from war with myriad problems that
seem insurmountable. Some fear that a request for help could be seen as
a sign of weakness. They may even hesitate to seek legal assistance
for something as simple as accessing entitlements like military
Doyle added, “While there are many lawyers across New York
State who want to help, they need more specialized training,
particularly in understanding military culture and available federal
benefits. This committee is a big step forward in helping to meet the
needs of the brave individuals who have given so much for this
With its Special Committee on Veterans, the State Bar Association has
gathered a network of attorneys familiar with veterans issues that will
focus on the unique legal needs of military veterans and service
Its goals are to:
• expand the availability of civil legal services to veterans
throughout the state;
• develop a model training program for lawyers on veterans
issues that can be replicated statewide;
• establish more veterans courts, similar to those now
operating in Erie County, Monroe County, Queens County and Suffolk
• increase public awareness about military culture, substance
abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury;
• create a legal resource guide for veterans and
Committee co-chairs are Karen R. Hennigan of Brooklyn and Michael C.
Lancer of Buffalo. Hennigan, a major in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, is
an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. Lancer,
a former military attorney who served in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate
General’s Corps, is a partner at Rupp, Baase, Pfalzgraf,
Cunningham & Coppola in Buffalo.
“When dealing with veterans as a group, we tend to see the same
problems over and over again. These include drug and alcohol
abuse, mental health problems, domestic violence and homelessness. This
tells me we are not doing enough on a societal level,” said
Lancer. “If we address these issues more proactively, we will see
fewer veterans in court.”
“The legal needs of veterans are not necessarily unique or
complex, but the people are. The military experience may affect how
veterans cope and interact with others,” said Hennigan.
The committee’s full report and recommendations are expected in
The 77,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest
voluntary state bar association in the nation. It was founded in 1876.
For more information, visit www.nysba.org/newscenter.
NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION, ONE ELK STREET, ALBANY, NY 12207 PH: (518) 463-3200 SECURE FX: (518) 463-5993