American Bar Association Presented with Support of Military Families Award
WASHINGTON — The Support of Military Families Award was presented to the American Bar Association in a Capitol Hill ceremony Monday night, September 20, 2010. The award was given to the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel (ABA LAMP) from the National Military Family Association (NMFA). ABA President-Elect Bill Robinson and LAMP Chair Donald Guter accepted the award on behalf of the association and ABA President Stephen N. Zack.
“Helping people is why lawyers become lawyers, and there is no higher calling than to be able to provide that help to our fighting men and women and their families,” said Robinson. “This award is a terrific honor, and one that will inspire us as we continue to strengthen and expand our work on behalf of the American military and its veterans.”
The award acknowledges the ABA’s vigorous policy advocacy on behalf of service members. The LAMP Committee has a long history of supporting military men and women, but its efforts intensified dramatically after 9/11 in response to a host of civil legal issues facing servicemembers as they deployed or were activated. The ABA supports strong legal protections for servicemembers, including safeguards against predatory lending and enhanced enforcement of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.
The ABA also operates a pro bono assistance project that provides additional civil legal support for servicemembers and their families in cooperation with the Department of Defense. To date, the project is serving more than 200 families.
Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Rep. Susan Davis (D- CA- 53rd) and Rep. Michael Michaud ( D-ME-2nd) also received the Support of Military Families Award Monday evening. Previous recipients of the NMFA Award include Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, General and Mrs. Eric Shinseki and Senator John Warner. The award is not offered annually.
ABA Executive Director Jack L. Rives and Senior Director of DC Operations James Swanson attended the event. Rives and Swanson are retired Air Force judge advocates; Rives was a lieutenant general and Swanson a brigadier general.
NMFA, founded in 1969 by military families, speaks up on behalf of military families and empowers individuals within a family to understand and access military benefits.
With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.