Four Valensi Rose attorneys teamed up with the Los Angeles County Bar Association to help military veterans deal with legal issues that can make it difficult or impossible for these men and women to find a job.

Volunteering for the Bar Association’s pro bono Veterans Clinic are Laurie Murphy, Ted Handel, David Reeder and Sharon Sandler.

Mr. Handel has advised clients on real estate and corporate law matters for more than 40 years. Ms. Murphy heads the firm’s litigation practice group and specializes in business, real estate and trust and estate litigation. Mr. Reeder has more than 27 years of experience in bankruptcy and business reorganization matters. Ms. Sandler is a nationally recognized family lawyer.

The goal of the Clinic is to help veterans handle issues ranging from criminal convictions and outstanding arrest warrants to suspended driver’s licenses.

An estimated half-million veterans live in Los Angeles County, and their numbers grow by about 25,000 each year. About one out of four veterans in the County cannot find work.

Most employers ask applicants if they have a criminal conviction, and can refuse to hire those who have a conviction or outstanding warrant – even if the warrant is for unpaid parking citations.

Help with something as mundane as resolving tickets and warrants, and reinstating a driver’s license, can enable a veteran to drive to a job interview and qualify for a position that requires a license.

For a veteran on a fixed income, a simple ticket can trigger serious consequences. If the fine is unpaid, fees and penalties may escalate. The veteran’s license may be suspended, which can lead to the loss of a job, problems accessing services, and possibly arrest for driving without a valid license.

An unpaid ticket that goes to warrant can result in denial of government benefits and eviction from subsidized housing. If the ticket is sent to collection, the veteran’s credit may be damaged, making it difficult to rent an apartment or obtain a car loan.

In many cases, the Clinic also is able to assist veterans in having relatively minor criminal convictions expunged, thereby removing a major hurdle to employment.

In a 2009 case, the Supreme Court recognized that “Our Nation has a long tradition of according leniency to veterans in recognition of their service.” Clinic volunteers, citing a veteran’s disability, low income or other compelling circumstances, can sometimes persuade judges to extend leniency or special consideration.

In addition to advocating on behalf of veterans, Clinic volunteers teach veterans to represent themselves in court. These pro se appearances not only extend the impact of volunteers’ efforts; they can also help restore a veteran’s sense of self-confidence.

Valensi Rose is proud that their lawyers have dedicated their time and expertise to serve men and women who have – often at great personal cost – served our nation.