The Fort Eustis Legal Assistance Division provides legal assistance in connection with personal civil legal matters to support and sustain command effectiveness and readiness in accordance with Air Force Instruction 51-504 and 10 U.S.C. § 1044. Under 10 U.S.C. §1044, the ability to offer legal assistance and legal services to the eligible categories of personnel is contingent upon the availability of legal staff resources and expertise. Although legal assistance is not separately funded, it has been provided for members of the armed forces since 1943 and is now perceived as one of the benefits of military service.
Legal assistance establishes an attorney-client relationship between the client and attorney and consists of military attorneys providing advice on personal, civil legal matters to eligible beneficiaries. For any other legal concern, the Air Force remains the client of the Air Force attorney. On such other matters, Air Force attorneys cannot provide advice to, or enter into an attorney-client relationship with, individuals or entities. Air Force attorneys, acting in an official capacity, may not enter into an attorney-client relationship in the following areas:
(1) Official matters in which the Air Force has an interest or is involved in the final resolution;
(2) Criminal issues under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), or any local, state or federal criminal law;
(3) Standards of ethical conduct issues;
(4) Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC) issues;
(5) Issues involving personal commercial enterprises (unless such advice is related to the Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act (SCRA));
(6) Legal issues or concerns raised on behalf of third parties, even if the third party is eligible for legal assistance;
(7) Drafting or reviewing real estate sale or closing documents, separation agreements or divorce decrees, and inter vivos (living) trusts (This limitation does not preclude a general review to identify potential problems for which the client may require more expert assistance or to protect a client from signing an unconscionable agreement);
(8) Private organizations (e.g., spouses clubs and squadron booster clubs) that have been chartered by appropriate authority to function on Air Force installations (Although prohibited from entering into an attorney-client relationship with private organizations, under the auspices of the Civil Law program Air Force attorneys may provide legal guidance and advice through the base private organizations monitor to ensure private organizations are properly chartered and comply with pertinent statutes and regulations); and
(9) Representation of the client in a court or administrative proceeding.
Personal civil legal matters commonly encountered during legal assistance:
2) Advanced Medical Directives
3) Powers of Attorney
5) Dependent Care Issues
7) Financial Responsibility
8) Domestic Relations
9) Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act (SCRA)
10) Veterans' Reemployment Rights and Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)
11) Casualty Affairs
13) Consumer Affairs
15) Victims of Crime
Active duty members, dependents and retirees are eligible for legal assistance. The highest priority will be given to active duty personnel who need mobilization or deployment-related legal assistance that facilitates Command readiness. There are several other specialized categories of persons eligible for legal assistance. Please see AFI 51-504 for a complete list of eligible persons.