Veterans Dial-A-Lawyer receives 100-plus calls

Issue May 2008 By Kelsey Sadoff

The Massachusetts Bar Association held its second Dial-A-Lawyer Program devoted exclusively to addressing the legal needs of veterans, receiving more than 100 phone calls on April 9. Volunteer attorneys at the MBA’s Boston office offered free advice to veterans with pressing legal questions concerning landlord/tenant disputes, benefits and family issues.

“This Veterans Dial-A-Lawyer Program gives veterans quick and easy access to answers to their questions,” said Elizabeth O’Neil, director of the MBA’s Public and Community Services Department.

“The specific Dial-A-Lawyer Program gives people the opportunity to have their one question answered and to find out what their next steps should be.”

A supplement to the monthly Dial-A-Lawyer Program, the veterans program is a public service of the MBA and U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management, in conjunction with the Massachusetts Department of Veterans Services.

“By partnering with the MBA in making legal services available, this has had a positive impact on the veteran community,” said Lawrence Feeney, general counsel for the Department of Veterans Services. “There has been receptivity and responsiveness to this program and it allows for interactive communication that expands everyone’s borders.”

Many of the lawyers who volunteered their time to this program have been personally affected by the issues plaguing the Massachusetts veteran community and want to help because they are veterans themselves or have close family members or friends who have served.

“It seems shocking to me that we send troops to war, but when they come back, we don’t provide them with adequate resources,” said volunteer attorney and solo practitioner Kate McIntyre. “They are fighting for our country and our freedom and it seems that the least [we] can do is provide them with legal services.”

“Veterans know that other veterans don’t get the help they need and are highly motivated to help other veterans,” said attorney Harvey Weiner, a partner at Peabody & Arnold LLP in Boston and a Vietnam veteran. “It is terrific that the MBA and U.S. Trust have sponsored this Dial-A-Lawyer event for veterans. It is incumbent upon everyone to help.”