The Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is established for the purpose of
identifying the specific needs for quality legal services available to New
York’s military community and creating a framework within which those needs can
be successfully met. The ultimate goal of the Committee is to improve the
quality of legal services available to the community of veterans, which the
Committee defines as past and present military members both active and reserve,
and the families that support them. The Committee will focus on three key areas
of need and has created a subcommittee to address each area: Veterans’ Courts;
Legal Services; and Legal Education.
The Committee has set forth specific goals for the subcommittees, which will
help us achieve measurable success in the coming year. These goals include
studying the availability of legal and other services throughout the
state; making recommendations to expand the availability of such services;
generating a report discussing ways in which service providers can share
information about available legal resources; recruiting and training attorneys
in legal issues commonly faced by the community of veterans; encouraging the use
and creation of more specialized veterans' courts; and compiling a legal
resource guide for the community of veterans and the attorneys who want to
assist them, either on a pro bono or on a for-fee basis.
Working with the Office of Court Administration and community groups
dedicated to veterans’ issues, the Committee will encourage the establishment of
more Veterans’ Treatment Courts and/or tracks, modeled on the ground-breaking
Buffalo Veterans Treatment Court, to deal with veterans charged with crimes.
The goal of the Veterans’ Courts will be to increase knowledge and competencies
in military culture, substance abuse, mental health, traumatic brain injury
(TBI), and other service related issues, including how to access veterans’
benefits and services.
Recognizing that it may sometimes be very difficult for veterans to obtain
legal assistance, the Committee will identify existing legal services resources
available to veterans including both fee based and pro bono. These resources
will be compiled into a reference/referral guide for use by veterans and
providers in order to facilitate the identification and use of available
The Committee also will strive to create and execute legal education programs
for attorneys and the general public on veterans’ issues. These programs will
have the overarching theme of providing legal education to practitioners and
non-lawyers involved in veterans’ issues relating to services available and
addressing legal issues unique to the community of veterans. In addition to
presenting CLEs, the subcommittee will seek to deliver program templates to
legal organizations throughout New York, that are interested in making such
Read the full report of the Special Committee on Veterans' Affairs, as approved by the House of Delegates in November 2012, here.