Since 2013, the Idaho Military Legal Alliance has worked to increase access to pro bono legal services for Idaho’s military population. IMLA objectives include: coordinating services of IMLA partners, providing continuing legal education on military legal issues, supporting military legal clinics in all parts of Idaho, and recruiting pro bono attorneys to help Idaho’s military population.
Over the last four years, IMLA has created a leadership structure that includes partners from military, legal, and other community organizations as well as individual attorneys. This comprehensive leadership team has established a strategic vision, sets policy, procedure, and practice for IMLA’s programs, and assists community partners around the state with their local initiatives and CLE programs.
Since 2015, IMLA has sponsored 19 CLE programs across the state. IMLA has worked diligently to provide top-level educational programs to Idaho’s legal community on military specific legal issue of importance to Idaho’s military community such as family law, estate planning, and landlord/tenant matters, among other issues. By attending IMLA training events, attorneys have developed both legal and cultural competencies to provide top-notch legal advice and services to IMLA clients.
IMLA’s flagship program is its state-wide military legal clinics. IMLA offer two types of pro bono clinics. The first type is a general legal advice clinic where a client can meet with a volunteer attorney to discuss a pressing legal need. Most of these clinics occur monthly at various locations around the state. The second type of clinic is a military wills clinics. During these events, volunteer attorneys and law students meet with military clients to prepare simple estate plans. IMLA conducts wills clinics on a quarterly basis at the Boise Veterans Administration and in other locations on an ad hoc basis.
In 2016, IMLA received a grant to create and implement a “clinic in a box” program. IMLA purchased three military grade “tough boxes” large enough to accommodate printers and all other supplies necessary to support wills clinics. As part of the grant, IMLA also hosted and recorded an estate planning CLE. IMLA then sent the clinic boxes and the recorded CLE to Pocatello and Lewiston, and retains one box in Boise. Local legal communities can use these “clinics in a box” to conduct their own military wills clinics.
In addition to IMLA’s clinical programs, Idaho Volunteer Lawyers Program works closely with IMLA to refer attorneys when services needed exceed the scope of IMLA’s clinics. If you are an attorney who is interested in accepting pro bono referrals of military clients, please go to www.idahoprobono.org, activate your account, and select “Veterans.”
IMLA would like to thank the Idaho State Bar and Idaho Law Foundation, all of IMLA’s member partners, and all of the outstanding volunteer attorneys and law students for their continued support over the last four years. Without the sustained efforts of all involved, military clients would not have had their legal needs met.