Legal Services “Hub” for San Francisco Veterans

Legal service providers in San Francisco and the Veterans Administration have formed the Veterans Legal Resource Hub, or V-HUB, a coordinated effort to bring comprehensive legal services to those who have served. V-HUB provides a centralized phone number and web portal for veterans to utilize for help in multiple areas of law, and to obtain referrals to attorneys or social services.

V-HUB participants include Swords to Plowshares; Golden Gate University School of Law (GGULaw); Legal Aid Society—Employment Law Center; The Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF) and its Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS) and Justice & Diversity Center; and the Veterans Administration.

V-HUB is the outcome of the Veterans Summit hosted by BASF in February 2014, which convened San Francisco veterans’ service and legal service providers to discuss how best to serve veterans in our community that are in need of legal representation. Under the leadership of Teresa Panepinto, former Swords to Plowshares legal services director and Kate Richardson, current legal services director; Douglas R. Young, of Farella Braun + Martel LLP; and Rachel Van Cleave, dean and professor of Law at GGU Law–the V-HUB was formed to  provide a streamlined referral system where LRIS serves as the centralized entry point for veterans seeking legal services in San Francisco.

“Unfortunately, many of the more than 21 million U.S. veterans who have served our country are not aware of benefits—medical, financial, and otherwise—that are available to them, and moreover, where to turn for legal help.” said Doug Young, an attorney and U.S. Marine Corps veteran. “V-HUB seeks to close the gap of unmet civil legal needs for veterans by centralizing referrals and connections to the right legal services programs who can assist.”

Veterans in need of legal services can call LRIS at 415-782-8909 to speak to an experienced legal interviewer who will confidentially screen callers, then refer them to partner agencies of the V-HUB including attorneys, nonprofit legal service providers, or social services organizations, depending on the nature of services needed.  This screening will also include a financial needs assessment, which may result in referrals to pro bono attorneys or to attorneys willing to reduce their fees to accommodate veterans.

Services also can be accessed through LRIS’ online and mobile referral form available at www.sfbar.org/lris. Veterans out of the San Francisco area can contact LRIS, and referrals will be made to agencies and lawyer referral service providers in their area.

According to Rachel Van Cleave, “GGU Law is delighted to be a part of V-HUB. Students in our Veterans Legal Advocacy Center learn valuable skills assisting veterans, and by working with V-HUB we can ensure that veterans are receiving exactly the legal services they need.”

A special thanks to Morrison & Foerster for their support.

For more information about V-HUB please contact Ann Murphy at [email protected] or 415-782-8908.