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Greenberg Traurig’s New Initiative Augments Legal Services to Veterans and Active Duty Military

LOS ANGELES – Nov. 11, 2018 – Earlier this year, as part of its global Pro Bono Program, Greenberg Traurig, LLP launched an initiative designed to augment the firm’s work providing pro bono legal assistance to active military and Veterans. “At Greenberg Traurig, we believe strongly that those who serve our nation are entitled to our support,” said Caroline J. Heller, chair of Greenberg Traurig's Global Pro Bono Program.

The initiative involves coordination of military-related pro bono activities firm-wide with the participation of Greenberg Traurig attorneys, including many of whom are Veterans from various branches of the military. In addition to assisting the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans and supporting Greenberg Traurig’s current participation in Veterans’ organizations across the country, the initiative will identify and coordinate with other local and national non-profits that assist Veteran and active service members with legal needs and will match individuals with Greenberg Traurig attorneys who have the relevant legal experience.

“We have a tremendous cadre of people who really understand what military service means and are willing to help,” Greenberg Traurig pro bono coordinator and former military judge advocate Adam Siegler told Law360 in a recent interview on legal aid for Veterans.

“There is a tremendous need for legal services among Veterans and active military,” Heller said. “Through this initiative, Greenberg Traurig is bolstering its commitment to help tackle legal issues facing Veterans and service members including: business, transactional, and real estate matters related to frequent and sporadic deployment; custody disputes; upgrading discharge status; and discrimination based upon gender, sexual orientation, or sexual identification.”

Below are recent pro bono representations that are part of the firm's initiative:

  • Providing corporate legal assistance to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, the resource and technical assistance center for a national network of community-based service providers and local, state, and federal agencies that provide emergency and supportive housing, food, health services, job training and placement assistance, legal aid, and case management support for hundreds of thousands of homeless Veterans each year.
  • Assisting the Army Historical Foundation with real estate matters pertaining to the building of the National Museum of the United States Army.
  • Assisting Veterans with Veterans Discharge Upgrade Appeals through The Veterans Consortium and the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School’s Veterans Legal Clinic.    
  • Participating in local bar associations’ Veterans legal initiatives, including the Veterans Legal Services Project operated by the Los Angeles County Bar Association and its Armed Forces Committee.    
  • Providing legal assistance at both the national and local levels to the U.S. Veterans Initiative, which is the largest charity for transitional Veterans in the U.S.
  • Greenberg Traurig’s Richard Tabura, Natassia Kwan, and Idris Ishrak represented an active duty Sergeant in the Army in his child custody dispute and his divorce. Tabura and Ishrak prepared all the pre-trial paperwork and pleadings, and worked on pre-trial hearings and trial preparation. When Kwan appeared for what was supposed to be a routine hearing this August, the Judge decided to conduct a trial. Fortunately, Kwan was thoroughly prepared and adapted and took the challenge head on, earning a number of key concessions for the client. Before the trial was completed, the client and his ex-spouse reached a settlement that the Greenberg Traurig team executed. The client got everything he wanted.    
  • Jamie Vogel and Layal Bishara assisted a Marine Sergeant in a claim against a mechanic, who overcharged him for his truck. Formerly stationed at 29 Palms, and now in North Carolina, the Sergeant left his truck with a mechanic and was told by the manager there would be no storage fee. The mechanic’s shop—now out of business—overcharged storage fees, never fixed the truck and refused to return the vehicle. The Greenberg Traurig team obtained $7,075 judgment in small claims court against the owner of mechanic shop, and is now working on judgment enforcement.    
  • Siegler, Ranika Morales, and Attashin Safari are collaborating with Bet Tzedek Legal Services’ Transgender Medical-Legal Partnership in order to assist a transgender former Marine, who has been persecuted and threatened by apartment manager and neighbors for being transgender, including trying to force her out of apartment.
  • Robert Horowitz identified a young recruit at Lackland Air Force in Texas who was facing immediate discharge based on a ruling already made against him. Siegler undertook the case; drafted a memorandum of support addressed to the recruit’s commander; assisted with the other documents in the packet; and coordinated with the Air Force legal authorities. The packet was accepted and the Airman was retained - a fantastic, and life-changing result for a deserving young man.    

About Greenberg Traurig’s Pro Bono Program: Greenberg Traurig lawyers across the firm’s offices provide pro bono legal services to the indigent and working poor, as well as to numerous civic and charitable organizations dedicated to assisting them. The firm focuses its resources on specialized and interrelated issues including civil rights and affirmative action, anti-human trafficking, family law matters, criminal appeals, immigration and political asylum, housing and homelessness.

About Greenberg Traurig: Greenberg Traurig, LLP (GT) has more than 2,000 attorneys in 38 offices in the United States, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. GT has been recognized for its philanthropic giving, was named the largest firm in the U.S. by Law360 in 2017, and is among the Top 20 on the 2018 Am Law Global 100. Web:  Twitter: @GT_Law.