Ropes & Gray Salutes U.S. Military Veterans through Commitment to Pro Bono Legal Services

In The News
November 9, 2018

Military veterans, service members and their families often require specialized legal services to help navigate complex health care and government systems. In line with the firm’s long tradition of providing pro bono legal services to those in need, Ropes & Gray attorneys have devoted many hours supporting veterans and their families, assisting in areas such as service-connected disability benefits appeals, discharge upgrades, securing U.S. citizenship, estate planning and comprehensive business support.

“On Veteran’s Day, we honor the more than 18 million military veterans in the United States who served their country with pride,” said David Chapin, Ropes & Gray’s managing partner. “Ropes & Gray is proud to fight for the legal rights of those who risked and sacrificed so much to protect our freedoms.”

The below are just a handful of examples that demonstrate how Ropes & Gray helps veterans and the organizations that stand by them.

Partnering with Veterans Legal Services

Ropes & Gray works closely with Veterans Legal Services (VLS), a nonprofit organization that promotes self-sufficiency, stability and financial security for veterans in Massachusetts through comprehensive legal services. Recent firm representations originating in referrals from VLS include helping an Iraq War veteran seeking U.S. citizenship following expiration of his permanent resident card and advising several veterans on their estate plans. Ropes & Gray attorneys have also presented on key estate planning principles and documents for residents and staff of the Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea, Mass. where VLS offers a regular legal clinic.

Assisting in Service-Related Matters

The firm’s legal guidance is particularly valuable in helping veterans obtain discharge upgrades and service-related benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs—a challenging process for many veterans. Ropes & Gray works with several nonprofit organizations and regional legal clinics to ease the difficulty of this undertaking. A number of firm attorneys provide pro bono legal services through the Veterans Legal Clinic at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School, assisting with appeals for discharge upgrades or reviews of veterans’ discharge/dismissal status. Additionally, Ropes & Gray has a partnership with Swords for Plowshares, a nonprofit that provides needs assessment and case management, employment and training, housing, and legal assistance to roughly 3,000 veterans in the San Francisco Bay Area each year. Our attorneys have worked on a record correction and eligibility for service-related benefits matter for a U.S. Navy veteran.

Supporting Veterans-Focused Organizations

In addition to providing pro bono legal services, Ropes & Gray supports organizations dedicated to empowering military service members, veterans and veteran-owned small businesses. The firm has partnered with Bunker Labs, a nonprofit that supports veteran entrepreneurs in their efforts to empower, connect, mentor and inspire their community. Ropes & Gray attorneys recently served on a panel of judges for a pitch competition between veteran entrepreneurs; in October, the firm held a pro bono clinic with Bunker Labs Veterans-in-Residence that gave the nine resident business owners the opportunity to discuss contract-related issues with volunteer attorneys. Ropes & Gray has also taken on client referrals through Bunker Labs to extend the impact of the firm’s work on behalf of veteran-owned small businesses.

Ropes & Gray also supports the efforts of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, an organization that helps thousands of disabled military personnel and veterans each year on their journeys to physical and emotional recovery. Founded in 2005, Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing has become a recognized leader in innovative recreational therapy. Last year alone, the organization served more than 8,400 members of the armed services across all generations. Ropes & Gray proudly served as presenting sponsor of the foundation’s second annual “Healing on the Fly – Boston” gala on Oct. 23.

Supporting LGBTQ Veterans in Court

Standing up for marginalized individuals, such as those in the LGBTQ community, is a critical priority of Ropes & Gray’s firmwide pro bono program. In response to the Trump administration’s near-total ban on military service by transgender individuals, Ropes & Gray filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in Jane Doe 2 et al. v. Donald J. Trump on behalf of the Organization of American Historians and 47 distinguished individual historians of the military, national security and foreign relations. The brief supports the plaintiffs in Doe 2 v. Trump, who are current and prospective military service members, and cites historical scholarship to challenge the discriminatory policy.

Ropes & Gray’s public service commitment is a hallmark of the firm. Learn more about our global pro bono efforts here.