One question can make a big difference…
Advocating for justice-involved Attorneys, paralegals, legal aid providers and other advocates encounter veterans, service members, and military family members, but they don't always know it. Veterans do not always identify themselves. They can be proud and stoic, and tend to be more comfortable helping others than asking for help themselves – even when they are in some kind of trouble or crisis. Military life can impact an individual's safety, finances, relationships, and opportunities. The best way to ensure service members and veterans get the representation they need is to ASK!
When you encounter a new client, ask, "Have you or a family member ever served in the military?"
When The Answer Is "YES," you may consider thanking them for their service. You may also then be able to increase your understanding of the potential impact of military service on their current situation, and help them to identify veteran-specific programs, services, and benefits. Asking further questions will also help you to:
Read a vignette about how providers in Legal & Advocacy Services can make a big difference!
Following are some questions that could be asked in the context of gathering information for more effective referrals and services. Pay attention to non-verbal cues, and show respect, curiosity, and empathy. Also be aware that responsiveness and effective follow-up are critical to building trust and rapport.
Portable Document Format (.pdf). Visit nh.gov for a list of free .pdf readers for a variety of operating systems.Click or touch each question to see additional information.