Pro Bono

Attorney Andy I. Chen at a homeless shelter in San Jose, California

Attorney Andy I. Chen at a homeless shelter in San Jose, California

Providing free legal assistance to homeless military veterans

Providing free legal assistance to homeless military veterans

Andy maintains an active pro bono practice assisting military veterans with a variety of legal issues, including family law, criminal defense, and benefits and pension claims before the Department of Veterans  Affairs. Unless explicitly waived, all services are charged at a significantly reduced fee. Given the costs involved, Andy does not provide free legal services as a matter of course to clients. He can, however, offer payment options, such as payment plans or discounted rates to those clients who cannot afford legal services. He will occasionally provide free legal services to needy clients as part of an organized effort in conjunction with other public interest or charity groups. Some of his past pro bono cases include:

 

  • Successfully helping a disabled Navy veteran and his wife recover a $4,000 bond posted in an unsuccessful attempt to protect their home from foreclosure. The vet and his wife lost their home and desperately needed the $4,000 returned in order to buy a car so that the wife could continue working. The wife had tried unsuccessfully to get the $4,000 back herself.
  • Helped a disabled Vietnam-era Navy vet locate a former squadmate he hadn’t seen in nearly 40 years. The vet had tried to apply for benefits from the Veteran Administration, but had been denied because there were no records of him ever having served. The vet’s squadmate was able to testify as a witness and provide documentation showing that the vet had indeed served. The vet was ultimately able to receive a service-connected pension.
  • Prosecuted a felony-to-misdemeanor reduction and expungement for a Vietnam-era Army vet who, due to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, had a flashback and was convicted of felony evading arrest. Because of the expungement, the vet was able to obtain housing and employment.
  • Helped a disabled Army paratrooper obtain a small-claims court dismissal in a suit brought by the paratrooper’s former landlord for unpaid rent. California’s small-claims limit is $10,000. The landlord had tried to circumvent this and sue for $16,000 by filing two lawsuits (one for $10,000, another for $6,000) off the same operative fact pattern. After the dismissal, the landlord chose not to refile.

Andy is also a member of the American Bar Association‘s Military Pro Bono Project panel of lawyers and frequently takes cases in California representing members of the US Armed Forces stationed both stateside and abroad.