New Jersey State Bar Association - The voluntary Bar Association of New Jersey, serving members since 1899.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 06/22/09
CONTACT:Kate Coscarelli
Director of Communications/Media Relations
732-937-7548

Video Educates Veterans on Legal Rights, Bar Association Pro Bono Program

New Brunswick – With thousands of New Jersey National Guard and service members recently returned home from Iraq and Afghanistan, the New Jersey State Bar Association has begun distributing a new video to inform them of their rights.

The bar association-developed video offers a primer on the kinds of civil legal issues soldiers may face upon returning home. It provides practical tips for soldiers navigating employment concerns, disability issues due to war injuries, family matters like divorce or support payments and economic issues stemming from identity theft or mortgage foreclosure. In addition, it provides information about the bar association’s Military Legal Assistance Program, which gives free legal help to soldiers with civil legal problems, and other resources.

“For many soldiers, they will come home to find their service overseas had a serious impact on their job, their family, their health or their finances. We stand ready to help them address any legal issue that may arise as they transition from military service back to life as a civilian,” said Association President Allen A. Etish.

Added John Smith, chair of the Association’s Military Law and Veterans’ Affairs Section: “We recently welcomed home 3,000 New Jersey National Guard soldiers and airmen, and we want them all to know we stand with them and behind them to provide all the support and help that we, as members of the bar, can provide.”

The video has been distributed to New Jersey National Guard officials and is expected to be screened for reservists during weekend training exercises this summer and at reintegration counseling sessions over the next three months.

“This is certainly going to be useful,” said New Jersey National Guard Staff Judge Advocate Daniel Giaquinto, who recently returned from a tour of duty in Iraq as command judge advocate of the 50th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.

The video features Gov. Jon Corzine, New Jersey Chief Justice Stuart Rabner and many volunteers of the Association’s legal assistance project.

With many soldiers now home, officials say they expect the legal needs of troops to grow.

“Things are picking up,” said retired Brig. Gen. William Greenberg, a McCarter and English partner who spearheaded the legal assistance project. “There aren’t sufficient military lawyers to deal with the everyday problems of life for them and their families … we are trying to make sure that if trouble comes a soldier’s way while he or she is overseas that we’ll handle it.”

The New Jersey State Bar Foundation provided funding for the video.

The New Jersey State Bar Association is dedicated to the continuing education of lawyers and the public and to reforming and improving the legal system. It encourages involvement in voluntary pro bono activities and supports the fair administration of justice. Incorporated in 1899, it is the state’s largest lawyers group. Visit the Association’s website at www.njsba.com

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