The stresses of war can destabilize relationships, impose financial hardship and create myriad other difficulties for soldiers and their families.
These stresses often lead to legal problems at a time when these families are most vulnerable. Many service members cannot afford a civilian lawyer. In addition, while most lawyers can help with common legal needs such as custody battles and landlord-tenant disputes, they are often unfamiliar with government programs created specifically to help service members.
Encouraged by the American Bar Association, state bar associations are trying to address the unmet need for legal services through creation of Legal Assistance to Military Personnel (LAMP) programs that provide training to legal aid lawyers and attorneys in private practice on the unique legal needs of service members and their families. Akin Gump lawyers are active in numerous LAMP programs and also provide legal representation to individual service members in a wide range of civil cases. We also have a strong relationship with the Semper Fi Injured Marine Fund, which frequently refers us cases of servicemembers in need.
In a Semper Fi case that received national front-page attention, a team of Akin Gump attorneys helped the widow of a Marine Corps major who took his own life in a broad array of matters that helped her begin to rebuild her life after the trauma of her husband’s death. Through our intervention, the circumstances leading to his death were re-examined, and his death was adjudged to be the result of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression stemming from the trauma of multiple tours leading a bomb disposal unit in Iraq. This review allowed military survivorship benefits that had previously been denied to be granted to his survivors.