November 19, 2015
Carson City, NV – Today, Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt proudly announced the launch of the Office of Military Legal Assistance, the nation’s first attorney general-led, public-private partnership offering our military communities access to pro bono civil legal services. The program pairs Nevada’s active duty, Guard and reserve service members with local attorneys to receive legal assistance for civil matters including: consumer fraud, military rights, immigration, landlord/tenant, predatory lending and creditor/debtor issues. Nevada veterans may also receiveassistance with wills and powers of attorney.
“I am proud to honor these military heroes who have given so much in service to this country and state,” said Attorney General Laxalt. “The Office of Military Legal Assistance is dedicated to addressing the legal gaps in representation for our current military service members. I am encouraged by the overwhelming response from more than 100 local attorneys who have pledged their commitment to our mission, and hold high expectations for this program. It is my hope that the Office of Military Legal Assistance will continue to expand its services and become a lasting legacy for the military families of Nevada.”
In February, AG Laxalt assembled a comprehensive group of representatives to help shape the parameters of the program. Members of the committee include representatives from the various military components in the state, the National Association of Attorneys General, the Nevada Military Support Alliance, the Nevada Department of Veterans Services, the Nevada Justice Association, Boyd School of Law, statewide and local legal aid centers throughout Nevada, state and county bar associations, and partners from private law firms throughout the state.
United States Senator Dean Heller who has expressed support for the program stated, “Our men and women in uniform sacrifice so much for our nation, even after their years of service have concluded. I’m proud to see that we have found an innovative way to give back to our active duty soldiers and veterans by providing pro bono legal services for simple civil matters, as well as complicated legal issues. Under Attorney General Laxalt’s leadership, Nevada’s legal and military communities have come together to ensure the success of the Office of Military Legal Assistance, and we are grateful for his guidance.”
Congressman Mark Amodei added, “It’s not often that an Army JAG officer has anything nice to say about a NAVY JAG officer, but hats off to my fellow former military legal counsel Attorney General Adam Laxalt for showing real leadership in a way that is already helping military communities in Nevada. This innovative program should serve as an example to the rest of the country on how to get military communities the legal representation they need on issues, which, in many cases, may arise as a result of service to our nation.”
In June, the office launched a pilot program to assess the program’s strengths and weaknesses in preparation for a statewide launch. Since then, the program has assisted nearly 30 service members in Nevada with obtaining legal representation. More than 100 attorneys have pledged a minimum of 10 pro bono hours to the program, totaling more than 1,000 hours of free legal assistance.
"We owe it to the men and women who have worn the uniform to provide access to services that will help improve their quality of life,” said Congressman Joe Heck. “That includes ensuring they receive the benefits they have earned and deserve and connecting them with employment and educational opportunities. Now, through this first-in-the-nation Office of Military Legal Assistance, we will be able to connect veterans with free legal assistance so they can get help with civil cases that can be time consuming and expensive. I commend Attorney General Laxalt for initiating this program in Nevada, and hope it serves as a model to other states around the nation."
Nevada active duty, Guard and reserve service members in need of legal assistance should contact their local Judge Advocate General’s Office for referral to this program. Veterans should contact their local Veterans Service Officers through the Nevada Department of Veterans Affairs. For more information about how to receive assistance or participate in the program, visit the website at NVAGOMLA.nv.gov or click here. To view other statements in support of the program, a testimonial and a breakdown of the cases the program has already assisted with, click here.
The Office is grateful to its donors, including the Nevada Military Support Alliance, SWITCH and the Nevada Community Foundation for their support and assistance with this launch.
The following are the committee’s members:
- Jim McPherson, Executive Director of National Association of Attorneys General
- Chris Toth, Deputy Executive Director, National Association of Attorneys General
- Joseph Brown, Director, Fennemore Craig Jones Vargas
- The Honorable Barbara Buckley, Esq. Executive Director of Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada
- Scott Bensing, Esq., President, Nevada Military Support Alliance
- Perry Di Loreto, Chairman of the Nevada Military Support Alliance
- Katherine Miller (U.S. Army Retired) Director of the Nevada Department of Veteran Services
- James Bradshaw, Esq. Partner of McDonald, Carano and Wilson Law Firm
- Daniel W. Hamilton, Esq. Dean of William S. Boyd School of Law
- Elana Turner-Graham, Esq., President, State Bar of Nevada
- Anna Marie Johnson, Esq. Executive Director of Nevada Legal Services
- Paul Elcano, Esq., Executive Director, Washoe Legal Services
- Benjamin Albers, Esq. Executive Director, Volunteer Attorneys for Rural Nevada
- David O’Mara, Esq. Nevada Justice Association (North)
- Cliff W. Marcek, Esq. Nevada Justice Association (South)
- Evan Brewer, Esq., Chair, Project Salute
- Josh Hicks, Esq., Brownstein and Shrek
- John Moran, Esq., Moran Brandon Bendavid Moran
- Mary C. Meixner, Esq., Project Director ABA Military Pro Bono Project
- Richard Pocker, Esq. Member of the Board of Governor, State Bar of Nevada
- Ira Raphaelson, Esq. Executive Vice President and General Counsel of the Las Vegas Sands Corp.
- Sheri Cane Vogel, Esq. Executive Director of the Southern Nevada Senior Law
- Damon K. Dias, Esq. President of the Clark County Bar Association
- Tiffinay Pagni, Esq. President of the Washoe County Bar Association
The following are the committee’s military advisors:
- Brigadier General William R. Burks, Adjutant General of the state of Nevada
- Brigadier General Ondra Barry, Nevada Air National Guard
- Captain Leif E. Steinbaugh, U.S. Navy, Commanding Officer, Naval Air Station Fallon
- Colonel Scott D. Leonard, U.S. Marines, Commanding Office, Marine Corps Mountain Welfare Training Center
- Colonel Donna M. Verchio, U.S. Air Force, Staff Judge Advocate, Nellis Air Force Base
- Colonel Toni A. Glover, U.S Army Reserve, Commanding Officer, 650th RSG (Incoming)
- Colonel Amy Taitano U.S Army Reserve, Commanding Officer, 650th RSG (Outgoing)
- Lieutenant Colonel Dan Estaville, Staff Judge Advocate General for the 311th ESC
- Lieutenant Colonel Ron Blaze, U.S. Air Force, Judge Advocate General’s Corp.
- Lieutenant Colonel Aimee Cannon, U.S. Air Force, Staff Judge Advocate General for the 926th Wing of Nellis Air Force Base
- Lieutenant Commander Joel Coito, U.S. Coast Guard, Staff Judge Advocate
- Major Scott F. Katherman, Nevada National Guard, Judge Advocate General
- Lieutenant Victor Marquez, U.S. Navy, Staff Judge Advocate, Naval Air Station Fallon
- Captain Dana Grigg, Nevada National Guard, Judge Advocate General