Pro Bono Program

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Since its founding in 1974, Swords to Plowshares has provided quality legal services to veterans in need of Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits and military discharge upgrades. Each year, we help hundreds of veterans access their benefits, but there are thousands more who need our help.

As a pro bono attorney with Swords to Plowshares, you will have the opportunity to assist veterans in multiple stages of the claims process – from assessing the strength of an initial claim to appealing an unfavorable decision.

Veterans are not automatically awarded benefits for disabilities related to their time in service and the process by which one obtains these benefits is complex and confusing. Moreover, many veterans are ineligible to receive much needed VA benefits because of “bad paper”, or less than fully honorable discharges. As such, Swords to Plowshares’ legal unit works with veterans in two areas of law: (1) VA disability compensation and pension claims, and (2) Military Discharge Upgrades. With the training and under the supervision of a Swords to Plowshares Staff Attorney, pro bono attorneys help veterans gather evidence and substantiate successful claims for disability benefits and military discharge upgrades.

VA Disability Claims Military Discharge Upgrades
  • Records Review (5-10 hrs)
  • Initial Claim Development and Application (10-20 hrs)
  • Appeal (10-20hrs)
  • Records Review (10-20 hrs)
  • Development of Application (10-20 hrs)
  • Appeal (Rare – please ask)

Over 30 Bay Area law firms currently partner with Swords to Plowshares’ Pro Bono Program. Swords’ program offers both limited and full scope opportunities to work with veteran clients on their VA benefits claims and discharge upgrade applications.

For more information on firm involvement, please email the Staff Attorney & Pro Bono Coordinator Mo Siedor at