Salesforce Pro Bono Legal Helps Vets at 2nd Annual Service 4 Service Legal Clinic
On November 2, 2015, 13 members of Salesforce and Salesforce.org’s Legal departments participated in the second annual Service 4 Service, a one day free legal and social services clinic for United States Veterans. In partnership with the Justice & Diversity Center, Swords to Plowshares, and attorneys from the law firm of Morrison & Foerster, the team assisted 14 veterans and helped address 23 legal issues. Rachel Williams, Pro Bono Counsel for Morrison & Foerster said, “We were pleased to partner with the legal team at Salesforce whose pro bono program has emerged as a leader among Bay Area in-house pro bono programs, and we are inspired by the enthusiasm and dedication of its attorneys to serving those in need.”
Stationed at tables throughout a large room next to the Veterans Court in San Francisco, the volunteers received training in specific areas of the law, such as VA benefit eligibility, family law, and of particular importance, landlord tenant law.
“I was surprised and moved to learn about the challenges our veterans face in society after their service ends,” said Tom Kelly, a Contracts Negotiator new to Salesforce. “It was a privilege to be involved in assisting them.”
One Vietnam veteran named Greg came to the clinic because he was recently notified that his subsidized housing voucher had been terminated. During the interview with clinic volunteers it was uncovered that Greg was never afforded an informal administrative hearing to which he was entitled before his voucher termination. JDC’s housing team is now representing Greg with the goal of reinstating his voucher which will be his ticket out of homelessness.
Charles, another veteran of the Gulf War, had just been released from a 50 month prison sentence for a non-violent crime, but was now faced with a $75,000 bill from the Federal Government for restitution, fines and penalties. Our volunteers were able to provide him with information on organizations that he could engage to help him negotiate a payment plan. “Though we weren’t able to solve Charles’ problems on the spot, he was grateful to have some next steps laid out for him, and I was glad I could give him this little bit of help in support of his efforts towards restoring himself back to a productive life,” said Norene Lew, Corporate Counsel in the Commercial Legal Department.
“JDC staff enjoyed working with Salesforce and Morrison & Foerster volunteers in bringing vital civil legal services to veterans. The volunteers’ kind demeanor and professionalism created a comfortable environment for the veterans as they received services that protected their housing and income which are essential to stabilizing their lives,” said Mairi McKeever, Director and Managing Attorney, Justice and Diversity Center of the San Francisco Bar Association.
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