How do I get assistance with a legal issue?
Currently, we offer our services to Gold Star family members referred through the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) and other similar organizations. If you are a Gold Star family member, you can find out more about TAPS at www.taps.org. If you are not connected to an organization like TAPS that we partner with, then you can submit a request for legal assistance to jmf@msjdn.org.
Who will be assigned to assist me with my legal issue?
First, you will be contacted by a JMF volunteer, usually a MSJDN member who is an attorney or law student and also a spouse of a service member. You may hear this person referred to as your Intake Coordinator. Your Intake Coordinator will serve as your primary point of contact for your request. Your Intake Coordinator will utilize the MSJDN database and other connections to find an attorney willing to assist you with your legal issue on a pro bono or low bono basis. Throughout our search, we understand that your privacy and confidentiality are important. We will never share your information without your permission or with anyone who is not connected to JMF or a potential attorney referral. When your Intake Coordinator searches for connections and resources for you, he/she will use broad, generic information to describe your issue. We will not release identifying information without your permission or until an attorney connection has been made.
After I submit my question, how long will it take to receive an attorney or resource connection?
Intake Coordinators make every effort to connect you with an attorney or legal resources as quickly as possible. Your Intake Coordinator will regularly contact you with updates, and, should you have questions, you are free to contact us for updates. Unfortunately, it is difficult to predict a timeline for case referrals and placement because a number of factors could affect our ability to find an attorney or viable resources to include the complexity of the legal issue, jurisdictional requirements of the request, location of the Gold Star family member, and attorney licensure requirements for the specific issue. We make every effort to provide an attorney referral or legal resources no later than six weeks from the time we receive your request. We will continue to search for legal assistance until we have exhausted every possible avenue for assistance or you request that we stop our search.
What happens when the Intake Coordinator finds a connection for me?
Once your Intake Coordinator identifies a potential attorney or resource connection, he or she will notify you or your TAPS Caseworker (or equivalent). You will either be provided the contact information for the attorney so that you may contact them directly or you may be asked if the attorney can contact you directly to set up a consultation.
Will the attorney or resource I am connected with be located near me?
Because your legal issue may require representation by an attorney licensed in a state that you do not reside in, assistance may be provided virtually or via telephonic means. The nature and complexity of the legal issue will dictate whether you need in-person representation.
I am a MSJDN member and would like to volunteer as an Intake Coordinator…how do I volunteer?
Please send an email to jmf@msjdn.org if you are interested in volunteering as an Intake Coordinator. You do not have to be an attorney to be a volunteer Intake Coordinator.
I am an attorney that would like to provide pro bono/low bono services for a pending JMF case…how do I volunteer?
Please send an email to the Intake Coordinator’s email address listed on the case posting and jmf@msjdn.org. The Intake Coordinator will reach out to you with case details.
Who qualifies as a Gold Star family member?
We define Gold Star family member as any family member or caregiver of an active or prior service member (veteran) that has passed away either while on active duty or in a veteran status. This is not limited to Gold Star spouses or those family members of service members who passed away while serving on active duty. We seek to have a broad encompassing definition of Gold Star family members in order to provide assistance to a broad range of service member and veteran families.
Are there income requirements to qualify for JMF services?
Regardless of the service member or veteran’s rank and/or military status, we do not have any income requirements to seek assistance through JMF. Through our intake process, we will ask whether you are seeking pro bono (free) or low bono legal assistance. We will endeavor to find you legal referrals and resources that best fit your unique financial situation. Your dedicated Intake Coordinator will work with you through the process to determine which legal referral and resources best fit your needs.