Operation Stand-By: Volunteer Attorneys Providing Advice to Military Attorneys
The following explains how you, as a volunteer attorney, can register with Operation Stand-By to volunteer time to provide general legal advice to military attorneys so they can better assist their servicemember clients.
Military legal assistance attorneys provide invaluable legal help to military families in a range of legal matters, but there are instances when these attorneys may not have the deep substantive expertise or state-specific legal knowledge necessary to fully advise and assist their clients. You may register to join Operation Stand-By to agree to be available to receive calls or emails from military legal assistance attorneys in need of consultation on state-specific legal information relating to your area of expertise.
- Am I eligible to join Operation Stand-By?
If you have been licensed to practice law for at least three years and you are currently admitted to a state bar in good standing, you are eligible to join Operation Stand-By. These requirements help to ensure that the Operation Stand-By volunteer attorneys provide military attorneys with accurate, useful attorney-to-attorney advice.
- How do I join Operation Stand-By?
The ABA Military Pro Bono Project is the platform for Operation Stand-By. Register on the Project's website by clicking Join this Area, and choose to join the Project's Operation Stand-By. Make sure to specify your bar admission year, primary bar admission state, and substantive area(s) of practice for which you are willing to accept questions from military attorneys. If you have been licensed to practice law for at least three years, you will be added to the Operation Stand-By list of attorneys who have volunteered to receive calls or emails from military legal assistance attorneys.
You may register to provide advice to military attorneys in the following areas of law: bankruptcy, criminal, consumer, disability, domestic relations, education, employment, guardianship, health care, housing, immigration, personal injury, public benefits, tax, trusts and estates, and others.
- How will a military attorney contact me for advice?
Military legal assistance attorneys who are registered with the ABA Military Pro Bono Project may search the Operation Stand-By lists of attorneys by state and legal area to find an appropriate volunteer to contact via phone or email for attorney-to-attorney advice. This list is only accessible by military attorneys who are registered with the ABA Military Pro Bono Project.
Military attorneys may ask legal questions relating to your geographic area and substantive area of expertise, so they can better assist their servicemember clients. Before talking about specific facts about a particular case, you may want to conduct a conflict check. There is no expectation that you will provide pro bono representation for the military attorneys' clients. Military attorneys are prohibited from providing the contact information on the Operation Stand-By lists to their clients or other individuals, unless you explicitly give permission to the military attorney to pass on your information.
- What types of advice will I potentially provide to military attorneys?
Military legal assistance attorneys may not have the substantive expertise or state-specific legal knowledge necessary to fully advise and assist their clients. For example, a military attorney may be unsure about the proper jurisdiction for a case. Or perhaps a military attorney is unsure as to whether there is a potential remedy under the law for a client. Your advice through a short phone conversation or email may greatly help the military attorney better assist his or her client.
- Am I required to provide advice to military attorneys who contact me?
Although we hope that you will provide attorney-to-attorney advice to the military legal assistance attorneys who contact you, you may decline to provide advice to a military attorney. Please respond to the military attorney and briefly explain the reason why you are unable to provide advice (e.g., you do not feel qualified to provide accurate advice in response to a military attorney's particular question), so the military attorney knows to contact an alternate Operation Stand-By volunteer.
Thank you to the ABA Section of Family Law Military Committee for its help in creating Operation Stand-By!