The mission of SALSA’s veterans’ program is to expand the availability of legal assistance to low-income veterans and their families that reside in San Antonio and its surrounding counties. To achieve this mission, the program conducts a Veterans’ Legal Advice Clinic that addresses unmet needs in our community. With help from our primary sponsors, Dykema and USAA, clients obtain legal advice and may be referred for additional pro bono assistance.
From businesses to individuals, we have all been affected one way or another by the Coronavirus pandemic. The veterans’ program has been able to use the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity for change. By making a pivot to hybrid operations and allowing volunteers to offer assistance remotely, volunteers are able to consult with clients anytime and anywhere they are comfortable while still having the support of SALSA staff to facilitate these meetings.
Advice clinics are held each Monday. Clients apply online and are vetted by SALSA staff based on the type of legal issue (we have affirmatively limited the subject matter areas that we are placing with volunteers) and income/asset eligibility.
The week before the scheduled clinic, SALSA staff contact volunteers that have signed up for the clinic to discuss their specific availability. The volunteer also receives a brief description of case facts, documents pertaining to the case, the clinic resource manual (covers commonly seen legal issues and provides quick-reference statutes) and the SALSA case email address (for the volunteer to document advice given).
SALSA staff facilitate appointments between the volunteer and client where the volunteer is able to obtain additional information from the client and provide limited legal advice or assistance. When the volunteer concludes their remote consult, they send notes from the consult to the client’s SALSA case email. When appropriate, the volunteer can refer the case back to SALSA staff for pro bono placement if they believe that the case may be a good candidate for extended pro bono representation.
Through their pro bono service, SALSA volunteers honor those who served and sacrificed for our country. The individuals who make up our armed forces have earned our enduring respect and appreciation and the Veterans Legal Advice Clinic helps make the benefits and assistance they are entitled to more accessible.
Sign-up to help on SALSA’s events calendar!