TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblyman Jay Webber’s bill creating a “Military Pro Bono Program” for active-duty and reserve service members and veterans needing legal representation in civil law cases cleared the Assembly Judiciary Committee on Thursday.
“When service members or veterans return home from serving our country and are faced with legal troubles arising from their absence stateside, we should have attorneys who are ready and willing to step up, just as our vets have,” Webber (R-Morris) said. “Landlord-tenant issues, financial problems, employment advice, and custody battles can make the transition from active duty to civilian life even more difficult than it already is. Our soldiers, sailors, and airmen deserve the peace of mind that comes with knowing someone will be there to represent their case free of charge.”
Currently, New Jersey residents who were in the military reserves and called to active duty overseas after Sept. 11, 2001, can access free legal services through the Military Legal Assistance Program, managed by the New Jersey State Bar Association and McCarter & English, L.L.P.
Webber’s bill (A2527/S1388) would create a similar program for active-duty and reserve service members and veterans. Attorneys would volunteer their time and labor, and the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs would adopt rules and regulations for the program. Examples of the types of civil law cases covered under the program include: family law, estate planning, immigration law, employment law, debtor-creditor law and military administrative law.
The Senate passed the bill unanimously in June.