. Basic wills, trusts, and estate planning.
However, complex estate planning and drafting is not
routinely provided in the legal assistance program.
. Domestic relations. Advice concerning the legal
and practical implications of divorce, legal separation,
annulment, custody, and paternity is provided.
Assistance in domestic violence cases must be
consistent with the Family Advocacy Program,
. Adoption and name changes. Advice and
document preparation, including pleadings, are
l Nonsupport and indebtedness. Advice and
assistance, including communication, correspondence,
and negotiations with another party or lawyer, on behalf
of the client, are provided.
. Taxes. Basic advice and assistance on federal,
state, and local taxes are provided. However, legal
assistance attorneys cannot sign returns as paid
preparers, nor do they normally prepare tax returns.
. Landlord-tenant relations.
assistance, including review of personal leases and
communication and correspondence on behalf of the
client, are provided.
l Advice and appropriate assistance is given in
civil suits cases. In-court representation is prevented,
except as provided in the expanded legal assistance
program. Procedures and requirements of small claims
courts and other courts of limited or special jurisdiction
can be explained and the appropriate referrals made.
l Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act. Advice
and assistance are provided as appropriate pertaining to
the protection afforded and the effect of the act on the
. Criminal matters. Limited general advice can be
provided regarding minor (misdemeanor) criminal
matters and traffic offenses within the jurisdiction of the
civilian courts. Serious criminal matters are not within
the scope of legal assistance and are referred to military
defense counsel or private civilian attorneys.
. Other services. Advice and assistance are given
on powers of attorney, real estate, bankruptcy, contracts,
consumer affairs, insurance, immigration,
naturalization, and other areas if not inconsistent with
legal assistance regulations. Advice and assistance
regarding military matters are provided subject to
certain limitations as described in the following text.
LIMITATIONS ON SCOPE OF LEGAL
Persons requiring the advice or assistance of an
attorney on a personal legal matter, as contrasted with
a military justice problem, should be referred to a legal
assistance office. Legal assistance is authorized for
personal legal affairs only. Legal advice and assistance
are not provided regarding business ventures or matters
that are not of a personal nature.
Legal assistance duties are separate and apart from
responsibilities of trial counsel, defense counsel, or
others involved in processing courts-martial,
nonjudicial punishments, administrative boards or
proceedings, and investigations. Unless otherwise
directed by the Judge Advocate General, legal
assistance attorneys cannot assume defense counsel
functions for their legal assistance clients. Members
accused or suspected of offenses or conduct that may
result in disciplinary or judicial proceedings under the
Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) or
administrative discharges are referred to a defense
counsel. Any person refused assistance by a defense
attorney and by a legal assistance attorney may seek
review by the CO of the NLSO or the judge advocate
designated by the Commandant of the Marine Corps as
the legal assistance area coordinator at Marine Corps
If two or more eligible persons with conflicting
interests seek legal assistance from the same office on
the same matter, the party first establishing an
attorney-client relationship is provided representation.
Other parties are advised that they are also eligible for
assistance, but that it must be obtained from another
source. Every effort is made to refer the party with a
conflicting interest to another legal assistance office or
to a private civilian attorney. If referral to another office
or civilian counsel is not a reasonable option, guidance
is obtained from the Judge Advocate General.
Legal assistance attorneys cannot advise on, assist
in, or become involved with individual interests
opposed to or in conflict with the interests of the United
States without the specific approval of the Judge
Examples include a claim for
monetary damages against the United States, filing for
a restraining order against the United States, or assisting
in pursuing CHAMPUS claims.
Legal assistance is not provided over the phone
except in unusual or compelling circumstances. This
does not prohibit appropriate follow-up telephone
discussions between the legal assistance attorney and