NEWS | Nov. 27, 2017

Legal assistance available if needed

By Kerry A.M. Bowers JB Charleston Legal Office

We all need help every now and then, and if you are in need of legal assistance, the Joint Base Charleston Legal Office is here for you. 

The legal office provides a myriad of services to active duty and reserve members and their dependents as well as retirees and other eligible clients. The Legal Assistance Program enhances the readiness of active and reserve military members by providing legal services regarding personal civil legal matters and by providing education for eligible personnel regarding their legal rights and responsibilities.

Unlike a full service law firm, the JB Charleston legal office is limited in what advice and service it can provide and to whom.  Primarily, the office serves the Armed Forces community. This includes active duty members of all branches of service, including those of a reserve component, retirees and lawful dependents of active duty or retired personnel from each branch of the service.  

A legal assistance attorney can provide advice or service for will preparation, estate planning, adoption, names changes, immigration and naturalization as well as tax related advice and assistance.  Additionally, the legal office can assist clients with domestic relations, including divorce, legal separation, annulments, and paternity and custody issues.  Other services provided include assistance with civil suits (unless civilian counsel has already been retained), non-support, indebtedness, landlord-tenant relations and issues related to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) and the Uniformed Servicemembers Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA).  While there are a number of services the legal office can provide, there are also a number of services we are unable to provide.  Legal assistance attorneys are prohibited from providing advice or assistance for official military matters, military justice related actions, private business affairs, advice to opposing parties on the same issue or any advice via email or by telephone.

While the JB Charleston legal office cannot provide legal advice by email or telephone, technology is available to assist our clients.  Air Force Legal Assistance has its own website dedicated to providing education and information for eligible clients.  The Air Force Legal Assistance Website (LAWS) located at https://aflegalassistance.law.af.mil/lass/lass.html, provides basic legal assistance information on topics commonly affecting military personnel and their families.  It is important to note the information provided by LAWS is not legal advice and should not take the place of any advice obtained by a legal assistance attorney.  LAWS is simply an additional tool for eligible clients to obtain general information, fill out legal worksheets prior to a legal assistance visit and to provide feedback on the legal assistance program.

Legal assistance walk-in hours are Tuesday afternoons from 1200 – 1500.  Additionally, appointments for will preparation can be scheduled on Thursdays from 0800 – 1100.  All will/estate clients are advised to visit the LAWS website to complete a will/estate planning worksheet prior to their appointment.  Please contact legal office if assistance is needed.