The Missouri Attorney General's Military Legal Assistance Team
The Military Legal Assistance Team (MLAT) is a statewide program bringing together private attorneys to provide pro bono legal representation and education to our military communities.
The Missouri Attorney General’s Military Legal Assistance Team (MLAT) provides pro bono legal assistance to servicemembers and veterans in Missouri for qualifying legal matters. The program also offers educational opportunities for Missouri servicemembers,
veterans, and businesses. The MLAT is Missouri's first statewide attorney general-led program offering our military communities access to pro bono civil legal services. For a printable version, click here.
The MLAT serves the following qualifying legal issues:
- MILITARY RIGHTS: The MLAT will accept referrals for representation from actively serving military members concerning legal issues caused by or exacerbated by their military service. For employer related issues, contact the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) at 1-800-336-4590. The MLAT does not provide legal representation for veterans or former servicemembers.
- CONSUMER PROTECTION: The MLAT will combat predatory business practices targeting Missouri’s military communities through the Attorney General’s Office Consumer Protection division.
- EDUCATION: The MLAT offers educational presentations to servicemembers, veterans, and Missouri businesses on military consumer protection issues, civil legal protections for servicemembers, and presentations related to MLAT services.
These events may be scheduled by contacting the MLAT Managing Attorney.
- STATE EMERGENCY DUTY: The MLAT will enforce state law protecting servicemember’s employment rights when activated for State Emergency Duty. Contact the ESGR at 1-800-336-4590 as the first step in resolving these concerns. Should the ESGR be unsuccessful in resolving your issue, they will refer your case to the MLAT.
In order to provide these pro bono services, the MLAT relies on volunteer attorneys. If you wish to volunteer for the MLAT or to schedule a CLE related to military pro bono opportunities, please contact the MLAT Managing Attorney.
To participate, there is no minimum requirement of hours to volunteer. Volunteering for the MLAT does not obligate you to accept a referral for pro bono representation. Malpractice insurance is provided.
Servicemembers interested in pro bono representation through the MLAT should contact their unit’s JAG office first for advice regarding their situation. However, applications will be accepted directly from the servicemember when they are unable to first consult their unit’s JAG officer.
MLAT services are available to active duty servicemembers stationed within the State of Missouri; Missouri resident servicemembers assigned outside the State of Missouri; and Missouri resident members of the National Guard or the reserves of the Armed Forces of the United States. To qualify, the court of competent jurisdiction and venue for the legal issue must be within the State of Missouri. Members of the inactive reserves (IRR) are not eligible for MLAT services.
The MLAT is managed by an Assistant Attorney General and guided by an advisory board. Members of the Advisory Board include:
- Attorney General Eric Schmitt
- Dr. Bucky Buckner, Colonel (ret.), U.S. Army, Missouri Veterans Commission
- Morry S. Cole, President, Missouri Bar; Partner, Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C.
- John D. Comerford, former U.S. Navy officer; former Chairman, Missouri Veterans Commission; Partner, Dowd Bennett, L.L.P.
- David M. Lowe, Colonel (ret.), former State Judge Advocate of the Missouri Army National Guard; Principal, David M. Lowe Law Firm
- Jason R. Scheiderer, Partner, Dentons
- John (Jay) W. Simpson, Partner, Shook Hardy & Bacon, L.L.P.
- Erwin O. (Erv) Switzer, Partner, Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, P.C.
In addition to the permanent members, the board works closely with liaison attorneys from Fort Leonard Wood, Whiteman Air Force Base, and the Missouri National Guard Ike Skelton Training Site.
The MLAT offers educational presentations to servicemembers, veterans, and Missouri businesses on military consumer protection issues, civil legal protections for servicemembers, and presentations related to MLAT services. These events may be
scheduled by contacting the MLAT Managing Attorney.
- "Know Your Benefits” – Did you know that there are significant tax breaks available to servicemembers and veterans in Missouri? How about educational benefits; did you know that servicemembers and their families
oftentimes qualify for education assistance well beyond those provided by the G.I. Bill? Are you a family member of a veteran and want to see your veteran get the recognition for their service that they deserve? This presentation provides
a brief overview of every state and federal benefit program available to servicemembers, veterans and their families which addresses these issues and many more. This presentation can be tailored to suit any audience so that only relevant
information is being presented.
- “Know Your Rights” – Deployment time is a stressful time for servicemembers and their families, even if they have gone through it before. Given that stress, it is wise to know in advance what your legal rights
are just in case a legal problem should arise while you and your loved one are separated by deployment. This presentation provides a brief overview of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), the Uniformed Services Employment &
Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), the Military Lending Act (MLA) and a number of state laws in place to protect military servicemembers and their families from common legal problems that arise during times of deployment. Moreover, this
presentation also covers a number of predatory business practices military families should be aware of as well as what they should do if they confront one.
- “Military Justice 101” – Have you ever watched a war movie that referenced giving someone an Article 15 and wondered just what that means? Or, how about a court martial, is it really that different from a
civilian criminal trial? This presentation discusses the entire military justice system starting with simple oral admonishments all the way through the most severe punishments handed down by General Courts-Martial.
- “Reserve 101” – Do you have a guardsman or reservist in your life and you want to better understand what it is that they do and why they do it? If so, this is the presentation for you. This presentation was
developed to help employers and community leaders better understand what it means to be a guardsman or reservist, what their service obligations are, and what legal protections they enjoy under state and federal law.
- “MLAT 101” – This presentation describes in detail what the Military Legal Assistance Team does and how it does it.
- “Unraveling the Mystery of Military Status” – This presentation delves into the highly technical question of military status and why it is important to servicemembers, employers and those who represent the
interests of either of those two groups. For example, many statutes apply to “members of the Armed Forces”, but what does that actually mean? Does it include guardsmen and reservists? Sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn’t.
- “USERRA A.I.T.” – Once you have completed basic training in the Army, you are next sent to “Advanced Individual Training” (AIT) to learn the basic skills of your military occupation. As a play
on that theme, this presentation picks up where the Know Your Rights and Reserve 101 presentations leave off and goes deep into the reemployment rights of military servicemembers. This presentation is ideal for groups of servicemembers,
attorneys, and HR professionals. Don’t see what you’re looking for? If not, please contact Scotty Allen, MLAT Managing Attorney, to discuss your specific needs. If given sufficient time to prepare, we are happy to create
a presentation to suit your needs.