Frequently Asked Questions About Finding a Lawyer
- Once I have filed an appeal, where do I find a lawyer?
- What will I have to pay for a lawyer?
- How do I ask the Pro Bono Program to help me find a lawyer?
- Once I have applied for a free Program lawyer, what happens?
- What will a lawyer do for me?
1. Once I have filed my appeal, where do I find a lawyer?
To find a lawyer:
- Apply for Services from the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program and find out if you are eligible for free representation. You may also contact us at:
Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program
(888) 838-7727 (toll-free)
- Other resources
Check with local offices of veterans service organizations, such as The American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, National Veterans Legal Services Program or the Paralyzed Veterans of America. Several of these organizations also have free lawyers on staff who practice before the Court.
If you are represented through the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program or by a veterans service organization, representation will be provided free of charge.
Alternatively, you may hire a private lawyer. A list of lawyers who represent veterans is available at the Court’s website at http://www.uscourts.cavc.gov, go to that site and click on Practitioner Information http://www.uscourts.cavc.gov/practitioners/.
Any lawyer you hire should be familiar with veterans law.
2. What will I have to pay for a lawyer?
If you chose to hire a lawyer who charges a fee, the fee can be an amount agreed to between you and your lawyer or it can be a percentage of any benefits you eventually receive from VA (called a “contingency fee”). There are limits set by VA on what a “for fee” lawyer can charge, so the lawyer must file a copy of the fee agreement with the Court.
3. How do I ask the Pro Bono Program to help me find a lawyer?
Once you have filed an appeal at the Court without representation,
- You may download the forms from this site and send them to us.
- Alternatively, we will mail you information about our program shortly after you file.
- We will send you the two forms, which you should complete and mail, fax, or e-mail them back to the Pro Bono Program.
- The Engagement Agreement & Power of Attorney Form gives the Pro Bono Program permission to read your claims file at VA in order to evaluate your case. It also allows our Program to ask the Court for more time, if needed.
- The Financial Disclosure Form gives the Pro Bono Program information about how much money you earn, and it is required to determine if you meet financial eligibility requirements.
Complete the forms, sign them, and return them to:
Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program
2101 L Street, NW, Suite 420
Washington, DC 20037
4. Once I have applied for a free Program lawyer, what happens?
If you meet the financial eligibility requirements, the Pro Bono Program will review your case. We will then either:
- Assign a lawyer who will provide you free legal representation for the appeal; or
- Notify you of the problems with the case, why a free lawyer is not being provided, and other possible options.
5. What will a lawyer do for me?
If a lawyer or other representative assists you with your appeal at the Court, he or she will:
- Talk with the Court staff and VA lawyers for you.
- Prepare paperwork for the Court.
- Review laws and regulations relating to your case.
- Prepare written legal arguments about why the BVA decision was incorrect.
- Ask the Court to hear an oral argument about your case.
- Attend meetings about your case as necessary.
- Keep you informed about the status of your appeal.
How to Appeal Your Claim & FAQs
This website is intended to provide information to individuals who have an active appeal at the US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. It is based on the Veterans Consortium’s understanding of the Court’s Rules of Practice and Procedure as of this posting, May (2011). Those rules are subject to change, but an appellant will receive a complete set of current Rules of Practice and Procedure from the clerk of the Court after the Notice of Appeal is filed.
The current Rules of Practice and Procedure are also available at the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims web site.