United States: Fox Rothschild Program Provides Free Legal Help to Veterans

Fox Rothschild was featured in the My Central Jersey article, "Rothschild program provides free legal help to veterans." Full text can be found in the December 20, 2014, issue, but a synopsis is below.

Radcliffe Palmer, an Army veteran who returned to Newark in 2006, found himself in an overwhelming struggle to balance treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and keep up with two children's support payments. In 2012, feeling helpless and overwhelmed by the mounting pressure, he noticed a flyer promoting free legal services for veterans from Fox Rothschild in Princeton.

Partner Alain Leibman took on Palmer's case, reviewing Palmer's options, arranging for the child support to cease accumulating, and establishing a reasonable payment plan.

Palmer explains, "He held my hand through the whole thing and was very, very helpful — I truly can't thank him enough."

However, Palmer is not the only veteran to receive a Fox attorney's revered legal advice free of charge. Henry Burch also reflects on his experiences with Partner Robert Rohrberger's life-changing legal services.

Burch and his wife had raised their three grandchildren after their parents were no longer able to care for them. In order to obtain benefits for these children, Burch was looking to legally adopt them. Rohrberger "did all of the legal work for me and organized an efficient strategy for adopting each of our grandchildren as they turned 18."

Burch raves that Rohrberger and Fox "were so professional, courteous, and thoughtful and I just have so much gratitude for them."

An Opportunity to Give Back

While Fox Rothschild is a substantial 600-lawyer practice, consisting of 20 offices nationwide, its attorneys have adopted a unique local and personal approach when serving the needs of veterans.

Leibman explains, "Our veteran's assistance program started in 2011 as a series of conversations I had with a friend who was a drug counselor for the VA. He said that a lot of the vets he worked with had legal issues that they didn't have the resources or coping skills to deal with. But while the VA provided strong medical and emotional support to veterans, it didn't offer legal assistance, and so these issues could become the difference between being employed or unemployed."

Thus, an idea emerged. "Our firm is very supportive of pro-bono efforts, so we immediately approached the VA lawyers and worked out a memorandum of understanding whereby we could hold legal clinics for veterans in office space at the Lyons campus," says Leibman. This made for a unique program, as "no other law firm in the country was going onsite to VA facilities to meet with veterans and take on their cases," he adds.
Despite this, the staff members of Fox Rothschild felt they had an obligation to answer the call.

A Professional Program

Since its 'Lyons VA Clinic' opened three years ago, Fox has handled more than 200 veterans' matters and sought relief on behalf of their clients. "We find that once a veteran has legal representation, it formalizes things quickly — the other party now knows that someone's fighting for the vet and the conversation changes dramatically," says Leibman.

He also notes that "many of the cases don't involve a great amount of money, but it's important to the veteran and they need it. Many veterans just need someone to help them facilitate communications with the other side or act as a referee."

Leibman further elaborates by stating, "It's about the small encounters and trying to make the world better for each person we engage. These men and women have done a great service for us, so we feel that the least we can do is listen to their problems and try to fix them."

He reflects that he is overwhelmed by the outstanding veterans with whom he has crossed paths through this program. "It's been rewarding for us both as a firm as well as for each one of us who's had the privilege of participating and we're dedicated to shining a light on a population that's often underserved and underappreciated," he says.

Leibman concludes, "The veterans we work with are extremely appreciative and we get wonderful expressions of thanks for what we do. They'll say 'thank you so much,' to which we always say 'thank you.' We just want them to leave the experience feeling that someone cares."

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