The mission of the Military and Veterans Law Section is to provide a voice for the Oregon State Bar to address the unique legal needs of Oregon’s veterans and Service members. Through collaborative relationships and proactive initiatives, the Section works to secure that Oregon offers a legal environment which does not prejudice the men and women who have served our State and Nation.
We know how they served. Member Daniel Crowe summed it up before a Memorial Day gathering in 2016: I tried to explain why young service members agree to go to war. The best I could offer was this: “Our Service Members go to war because, by going, we believe we are preserving something to come home to … even if we do not.” As lawyers, what should we offer our veterans upon their return? Abraham Lincoln said it well in his second inaugural address. The Nation needed to “to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan.” For those who make it home, or for the widow or orphan of those who do not, the Section is here to help you.
This is not the first time that the Bar has had a military and veterans law section. An earlier Military & Veterans Affairs Section was active for many years but was abolished in 2000 following years of declining enrollment. On September 11, 2001, the world changed and America has been at war since that time. As a result, our state has seen a dramatic increase in the number of service-members and veterans who need legal assistance. In addition, federal law changes have opened the door to private bar involvement in legal work for veterans. As a section, our numbers are still small but growing, and we invite you to join us in promoting and serving the legal needs of those who have served for the benefit of us all.
The founders of the section recognized that many Oregon employers, banks, other institutions, and lawyers were unaware of Oregon service-members’ rights under federal laws like USERRA, SCRA, and other statutes. Therefore, in November 2012, the Oregon State Bar Board of Bar Governors authorized the establishment of a new section for military and veterans law. Here is a 2013 article with more detail.