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Nevada Attorney General proposes legal assistance program for veterans

Nevada National Guard Adjutant General, Brig. Gen. William Burks, left, meets with Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt on Feb. 12 to discuss the potential creation of a military legal assistance program. Laxalt, elected in November and a former Navy Judge Advocate General, said he wants to create an Office of Military Legal Assistance to match veterans and private lawyers looking to work pro-bono on certain civil cases.  NV ANG photo by Tech. Sgt. Emerson Marcus (released).

Nevada National Guard Adjutant General, Brig. Gen. William Burks, left, meets with Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt on Feb. 12 to discuss the potential creation of a military legal assistance program. Laxalt, elected in November and a former Navy Judge Advocate General, said he wants to create an Office of Military Legal Assistance to match veterans and private lawyers looking to work pro-bono on certain civil cases. NV ANG photo by Tech. Sgt. Emerson Marcus (released).

CARSON CITY, Nev. -- Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt announced last week the formation of an advisory committee for the potential creation of a military legal assistance program in the state.

Members of Nevada's legal community, veteran advocates and Nevada Adjutant General Brig. Gen. William Burks met Feb. 12 to discuss the program in Carson City.

The proposed legislation -- Senate Bill 60 -- would create "the nation's first attorney general led public-private partnership to give our military communities access to pro-bono civil legal services," Office of the Attorney General spokeswoman Patty Cafferata said in a press release.

The Attorney General's Advisory Committee for the Office of Military Legal Assistance will continue discussing specifics and how the office could best aid veterans, specifically those returning from overseas, as the bill waits to go before the Senate during Nevada's 78th Legislature, set to remain in session through May.

Nevada Air Guard Capt. Dana Grigg said the three-person Judge Advocate General staff at the Office of the Adjutant General in Carson City receives inquiries on several types of cases ranging from family law to probate law.

"We try to guide them and coach them through the motions, but we can't always put pen to paper or provide direct representation," Grigg said.

"Most attorneys I speak with agree that we owe this to our military community, and are happy to have a vehicle to support such a great cause," said Laxalt, a former Navy JAG. "The attorney general's office is uniquely situated to spearhead this collective effort to bring these needs to the forefront of our legal community in the state."