Helping Veterans Get the Care They Need
Many veterans leave the service with ongoing medical and psychological conditions; some of them are denied the disability coverage they need. Ensuring that the U.S. government “honors the pact made with our 25 million veterans” is the mission of the National Veterans Legal Services Program, through which we have been privileged to submit appeals for veterans whose benefits claims were denied by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
"Friend of the Court"
Sometimes the greatest assistance we can provide a pro bono client is to shed additional light on an important case by writing an “amicus curiae” brief, which means “friend of the court.” These written briefs provide crucial background information and analysis, and explain how the court’s decision will impact those affected. Two of our recent amicus briefs involve a public education-related case in the U.S. Supreme Court and a case involving the federal Privacy Act.
An estimated 60,000 Holocaust survivors who performed “voluntary work” in Jewish ghettos are eligible for the German government’s Ghetto Work Payment Program, which offers payments of 2,000 Euros (approximately $3,000). We are helping local survivors complete their applications in a program organized by Jewish Family Service and Bet Tzedek.
On Nov. 4, 2008, a man was turned away from his polling place because he would not sign the voter roll. When our volunteer for Election Protection heard him say, “Well, I’m just not going to vote, then,” she stepped up to investigate. She discovered that he was illiterate and unable to sign his name. After explaining to poll workers that the law protects illiterate or disabled voters, the volunteer went a step further to help the man.
Defending the Defenseless at Guantanamo
Muhammad Saad Iqbal returned home to Pakistan last year after more than six years in U.S. custody, most of which was spent at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Iqbal was imprisoned without charges and was subjected to severe mistreatment including torture. His freedom came amid exhaustive pro bono work performed by Davis Wright Tremaine attorneys.
Libel or Mistake?
A reporter writing a story about spousal abuse uses pseudonyms to disguise the parties involved. When discussing one woman’s abuse at the hands of her husband, the writer inadvertently uses the woman’s real first name in one instance. The husband sues for libel, claiming he can be identified by the story. Is the writer guilty of libel, or does the First Amendment protect her mistake?
Small-Business Legal Clinic
Tory Campbell had a dream of creating a business so that he could take pictures for a living. Like many potential small-business owners, he didn’t have the resources to hire a lawyer. So he turned to the free business legal clinic at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Ore., where students develop their skills while helping new businesses get their footing and practicing attorneys provide additional pro bono counsel.
Alaska Man Reclaims His Home
In 2005 a resident of Sutton, Alaska, lost his home to foreclosure due to a combination of his financial straits and the terms of his mortgage. When the man appealed to Alaska Legal Services for pro bono assistance, our attorneys uncovered some questionable practices by the lender and cleared the way for the resident to regain his home.
Medical-Legal Partnership for Children
A seriously ill child and her mother are about to be evicted from their apartment. A terminally ill teenager's family needs access to a fund created for her care. An immigrant family's U.S.-born infant has a serious medical condition. These are just a few of the people who are being helped through the Medical-Legal Partnership for Children.
For more information about Davis Wright Tremaine's pro bono program, please contact Julie Orr, coordinator, Pro Bono & Public Service Committee.