Civil Legal Aid for Veterans in a Time of COVID

Veterans Legal Services, located in Boston, recently hosted a virtual discussion with Harvard Law School Professor Martha Minow about the civil justice gap in Massachusetts, specifically in connection to low-income military veterans.

VLS Chief Counsel and co-Executive Director Anna Richardson and Minow covered a wide range of issues, most notably how the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare many of the inequalities embedded throughout society — from housing instability and access to quality health care, to the growing need for emergency financial assistance. Civil legal aid, particularly for low-income military veterans, will play an increasingly important role in the nation’s recovery.

“The pandemic, in many ways, is like a big spotlight exposing all of the holes in our social safety net and the failures to deliver on our promises to society,” said Minow, who recently co-chaired a project report by the American Academy of Arts & Sciences titled Civil Justice for All.

“VLS exemplifies two of the key recommendations from our report, which is partnerships — notably medical-legal partnerships…really just meeting people where they are — and connections with advocates who are not lawyers,” she added. “It’s to help people access the benefits they are entitled and the protections to which the law is devoted.”

You can watch the full conversation from the Dec. 9 event online at