Thursday, April 30, 2009

Lawyers for Warriors on Facebook: an Experiment

Recently I put Lawyers for Warriors on Facebook as a cause.

The Goal


The warriors community is loosely defined as our servicemembers, veterans and their families.

Legal Aid is also loosely defined, referring not only to legal aid organizations but to the idea that the help needed should be available. Some members of the warrior community can afford to hire private practice attorneys, and there should be such available, with training in appropriate areas (e.g. SCRA, USERRA). Others are impoverished and need traditional pro bono, or whatever.

There are many involved efforts addressing part of the problem. They great work they are doing must be praised and not minimized; however, as a whole, they are not organized, coordinated nor comprehensive. A comprehensive solution is no-one's job, therefore no-one is doing it.

That's o.k. We can fix that!


  1. Identify and publicize existing resources serving the legal needs of our warrior community
  2. Identify gaps in the legal needs of our warrior community
  3. Develop means to fill those gaps
These elements were obvious way back in December 2007 when the first Lawyers for Warriors CLE took place at WSBA. In the following 16 months, the task of identifying existing resources was proving to take way too much time for one volunteer posting on blogspot. And even when complete, keeping it up to date would take a crazy amount of effort for one person. The ABA is a fine professional organization, but even its more limited (by design) Operation Enduring LAMP page has out-of-date information.

Develop a network sufficient to solve the problem was just not happening.

Facebooking It

About a year ago, my friend Mark Shea mentioned the use of Facebook as a project tool. (What a pity I didn't leap in immediately, but what-the-heck, at least Lawyers for Warriors didn't get mixed up in the great Vampire/Werewolf/Scrabulous wars of last year.)

So far, I've created the Cause, posted a few notes, and invited a few friends. The cockels of my heart were warmed to see 2 friends accepting the invitation before I had time to work on the graphics. I hope with a little bit of work, our collective intelligence will drive the project far, far beyond my own meagre abilities. We'll See!

Surely You're Interested!

  • Don't be mislead by the name. The "Lawyers" part is for euphony, anyone can contribute research. We especially need people who know what the heck they're talking about, e.g. members of the warrior community itself.
  • Help us catalogue resources State-by-State. A first start is here . It is far from complete (not covering half the states yet, and no doubt not covering all resources within each state) so jump right in and suggest changes. At some point, we'll need a better technology than blogspot, I suspect, but let the community decide!
  • Identify gaps in legal aid availability and develop the means to fill the gaps. These are broad subjects of course, and solutions should be equally broad. Traditional legal aid (both funded and pro bono), clinics, use of paralegals etc, legal reforms, encouragement of CLEs and law school education on relevant topics and so on may all have their part.
  • This project is NEW so your ideas on an effective structure would be quite useful!
  • Worthy of separate mention: the best way to solve an unmet need for a community is to help the community solve the problem. In the matter of legal aid for the warrior community, the best solution is to help members of that community (e.g. veterans and family members) become appropriate sorts of legal professionals (lawyers, paralegals, etc.). Adroit use of the GI Bill and other means should be persued, in my opinion.
Creating a Lawyers for Warriors Facebook Cause is basically releasing it into the wild, to grow on its own, with my help but no longer under my control. That's o.k. If Mark and the other theorists are right, it will grow better, smarter and faster. That's a good thing.

After all, the point is to meet the goal. Let's go!

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