Contact: Andrew J. Rush
Director, Media Services & Public Affairs

November 8, 2007


Members of the military and their families will be eligible to receive free legal advice through the New York State Bar Association's (NYSBA) Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS), as well as through Lawyer Referral Services coordinated by the Albany, Onondaga and Broome County Bar Associations.

With a large number of New York National Guard either deploying to Iraq or recently returning from a tour of duty, service people and their families have legal questions they need answered. To assist the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps in providing them with the answers they need, many NYSBA members have volunteered to provide legal consultations free of charge.

New York State Bar Association President Kathryn Grant Madigan (Levene Gouldin & Thompson LLP) said, "The brave service men and women who serve our country make many sacrifices to keep us safe, and upon either deploying or returning from service have many legal questions they need answered.  We are so pleased that the members of our organization, as well as lawyers active in the Albany, Onondaga and Broome County lawyer referral programs have generously volunteered their time and are able once again to provide members of our military with the answers to legal questions that arise."

David J. Pajak, Chair of the Committee on Lawyer Referral Service said, "In 2004 we received many inquiries from armed forces personnel who were suddenly deployed and had questions regarding their legal affairs.  At that time, we were able to provide answers free of charge and we are pleased to be able to provide this service once again. The JAG Corps do an excellent job, but cannot always handle the workload, and our members are once again eager and ready to help."

The New York State Bar Association's Lawyer Referral panel provides legal referrals to the public in 41 upstate counties without local bar-sponsored referral services. Attorneys usually charge $35 for the initial 30-minute office session.  However, consultations for members of the military and their families will be free under this program.  In addition, lawyer referrals coordinated by the Albany, Onondaga and Broome County bar associations will be free as well.

Military members interested in this service can call the New York State Bar Association LRIS office at 1-800-342-3661.  The staff will provide the name and phone number of an attorney who has volunteered to give a free consultation and information about other agencies and services that may also be of assistance. Any fees for services beyond the initial visit become a matter between attorney and client.

This program has successfully provided legal guidance to men and women of the military in the past, including 2004 when members of the military who had been deployed for Operation Enduring Freedom were eligible for free legal services.

The 72,000-member New York State Bar Association is the official statewide organization of lawyers in New York and the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Founded in 1876, NYSBA programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for more than 130 years.