The Naval Legal Service Command (NLSC) recently reorganized its offices and leadership explained where fleet units and individuals in need of services go to obtain legal help in a NAVADMIN released Nov. 30.
The NLSC provides four basic types of legal services: legal assistance (wills and powers of attorney, and matters involving consumer, family, landlord-tenant, and predatory lending law); legal advice to commanders; prosecution of service members accused of crimes; and defense of service members accused of crimes. In order to assist clients effectively, NLSC has two types of offices – Region Legal Service Office (RLSO) and the Defense Service Office (DSO).
For those looking for legal assistance type services, the RLSO now provides this help. For example, a Sailor preparing to deploy should create or update their will. In order to do this, the service member must make an appointment with the closest RLSO. There are legal assistance offices in fleet concentration areas, and at or near most Navy bases around the world, with legal support providers prepared to assist service members, their families, retirees, and other eligible clients. All legal assistance services are provided free of charge to those eligible. Attorneys working for the RLSOs also prosecute courts-martial and provide legal advice to commands around the globe. Command services include advice on military justice, ethics, JAG Manual investigations, administrative law, and other legal issues involving Navy commands. Navy commands retained their current staff judge advocate support.
The newly created DSO mission is to defend service members in military justice proceedings, represent them at administrative boards, and provide other representational services, including advice on non-judicial punishment and adverse personnel actions. A service member seeking legal help with a criminal accusation or averse personnel issues should make an appointment with the closest DSO. In many locations, the initial contact with a DSO attorney will be by telephone or other remote communication technology, with subsequent in-person consultation if necessary. Contact information and descriptions of all services available from legal offices are located under the legal services tab at www.jag.navy.mil.