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East Texas veterans to receive free legal advice from volunteer attorneys Thursday

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) – Ahead of Veterans Day, a few East Texas organizations have teamed up to offer free legal advice to veterans. On Thursday, veterans have the opportunity to participate in a free legal hotline.

This is a community service program where volunteer attorneys will offer free advice on civil legal matters to Smith County veterans. This program is a partnership between the Smith County Bar Foundation, Lone Star Legal Aid, and Smith County Bar Association.

“There is one thing that will get private lawyers involved in volunteer work and that is to help the veterans. They (just say), ‘yeah, of course, of course I will,'” attorney Dana Bias said.

The goal is to help veterans get legal advice regardless of their income.

Bias said some of the most common calls they get are for family law. Others can advise on wills, evictions and more.

Mark Shaw is the community engagement manager at CampV and said programs like this are beneficial to veterans. Whether it’s criminal matters, or just life happening, he said any kind of advice and financial help is helpful.

“Let’s just say you were overseas, and I had to deal with Red Cross messages. Bam, one of your parents is dead, or your spouse is dead, or someone in your family is dead. Now all of a sudden they have a will that needs to be attended to,” Shaw said. “Again, in the worst case scenario, that service member passes away. It’s very important that your legal representation has proper paperwork, in line with proper representatives, so that, one, the burden of going through all that legal red tape stuff, it can be minimized and that weight taken off the veteran’s shoulders .”

Bias said their job is to engage private attorneys to help them with their mission because there is a large population living in poverty in Texas, and the private attorneys can help them.

“So anybody with any kind of problem, any kind of income level can apply and expect a call from an attorney, one of our volunteer attorneys in our Smith County Volunteer Attorney Program for a brief consultation,” Bias said.

The free legal advice phone line is open tomorrow from 10am to 3pm

To register, visit the Smith County Bar Foundation website.

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