The Austin Bar Foundation has expanded the services provided to veterans thanks to a grant from the Texas Access to Justice Foundation. In addition to the Free Legal Advice Clinics for Veterans, the Austin Bar Association can now provide free legal advice over the phone to eligible veterans, and assist with minor legal issues to veterans in Travis and surrounding counties. Applicants must complete an intake to see if they qualify for these services.
Attorney Douglas Lawrence is the managing director of the Veterans Legal Assistance Program. Lawrence is a graduate of Indiana University and the University of Akron Law School. He is originally from Indiana and began practicing law in Cleveland, Ohio, representing the homeless in all manner of civil and criminal cases. After moving to Texas, he continued in public service, working at non-profit agencies representing children along with the poor and the elderly. For the past 10 years, he was lead attorney with Volunteer Legal Services, where he supervised countless legal clinics, helping low-income families with a broad range of legal issues.
According to Lawrence, “We will go where the veterans are. We’ll set up clinics, give advice and take cases. We will meet face to face with every veteran who needs legal assistance. We’ll do whatever we can to help.”
This program is funded by the Texas Access to Justice Foundation and the Austin Bar Foundation.
For Attorney, Paralegal or Law Student Volunteers:
The Veterans Assistance Programs consist of free legal advice clinics and pro bono representation. We cannot be successful in this program without your help. Please consider volunteering in one of the following ways:
Free Legal Advice Clinics
The Austin Bar Foundation has been sponsoring the clinic in Travis County for over five years. Approximately 2,065 veterans have received assistance at the clinics since they began. On average, Austin Bar attorneys assist 30 veterans at each clinic. While the veteran population has decreased on a national level, Texas has seen an increase. There are over 130,000 veterans in Travis County and surrounding counties. The goal of the clinics is to provide high-quality legal assistance to low income veterans and their families to remove the barriers that keep veterans at or below the poverty level.
Veterans seeking legal advice do not have to make an appointment or reservation to attend the advice clinics. Attorney volunteers will provide 10 to 15 minutes of brief, legal advice. Veterans most often seek legal advice in the following areas: divorce, child support, custody, consumer, contracts, criminal, wills, estate planning, guardianship, probate, housing, landlord/tenant, and bankruptcy.
Monthly legal advice clinics are held at the Austin VA Outpatient Clinic located at 7901 Metropolis Drive, Austin TX 78744 from 1:30 to 4:00 p.m. Legal advice clinics are also held in surrounding counties. Please watch the weekly enewsletter, Bar Code, for announcements about any upcoming clinics.
If you are interested in participating in the clinics, please contact managing attorney Doug Lawrence.
Pro Bono Services
The Austin Bar now has the ability to provide limited pro bono services. However, we are unable to offer these services without your help!
There is a wait list of veterans looking for legal assistance. These veterans may need anything from advice to representation in their cases. If you are available to assist, please contact managing attorney Doug Lawrence.
For Paralegals or Law Students:
We need your help too! The Austin Bar receives hundreds of calls from veterans seeking legal assistance. If you are interested in honing your intake skills, this is where you can help. We also need assistance with upkeep of our database. If you are interested, please send your resume to our managing attorney Doug Lawrence.