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8 November 2012 TOPEKA, Kan.—In honor of Veterans Day, Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton Nuss thanks the nearly 100 Kansas lawyers who have volunteered to help service members and their families with legal issues. This new project, jointly supported by Kansas Legal Services and the Kansas Bar Association, targets currently and recently deployed service members for free legal assistance by employing pro bono attorneys.

“As both a Marine Corps veteran and the father of an Army soldier, I am very proud of the KBA’s project. It helps, and therefore honors, the men and women who faithfully serve our country,” said Chief Justice Nuss.

Service members deployed since 9/11 have faced many challenges unlike anything before in our country’s history. They’ve left behind jobs, friends and daily routines to face the stress of combat, long deployments and uncertain conditions. Dustin Crook, a service member who spent a year in Iraq, is now an attorney with Bryan Smith Law Firm in Topeka.

“I know a lot of my buddies came home to unexpected legal hassles. I want to help relieve some of the stress vets and their families have to face,” said Crook.

Additional volunteers include a retired judge who drives veterans to medical appointments and wants to do more. Another volunteer lawyer noted that, “Lawyers have been helping veterans for decades, but this program might make it easier to link up service members and attorneys in an organized way.”

“Soon after the request for assistance, nearly 100 Kansas attorneys volunteered to help our returning military,” said KBA President Lee Smithyman. “Such generosity and enthusiasm makes me proud to be a Kansas attorney.”

The first stage of recruiting volunteer attorneys for the project will end November 11. Attorneys who would like to volunteer their time may sign up online at

The program will be able to accept requests from service members for legal assistance at the beginning of the new year.


View the high-resolution photo online at

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Front row (l-r): Allison Maxwell, Topeka; Edward Wiegers, Marysville; Dustin Crook, Topeka; Stephen Cavanaugh, Topeka; and John Sanderson, retired judge, Emporia. Back row (l-r): Lee Smithyman, KBA president, Overland Park; Chief Justice Lawton Nuss, Kansas Supreme Court; and Marilyn Harp, Kansas Legal Services executive director, Topeka.