We are pleased to announce that the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel (LAMP) selected Region Legal Service Office Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia (RLSO EURAFSWA) as the 2017 Distinguished Service Award winner for the Navy.
In 2017, the RLSO EURAFSWA Civil Law Department held the Navy JAG Corps' first-ever Innovation Challenge. Six Civil Law Innovation Teams created 24 short-, intermediate-, and long-term modernization concepts. The Civil Law Department implemented the short-term innovations after successfully advocating for funding for self-help special power-of-attorney kiosks to 13 legal assistance offices around the world. It then merged the Teams into Innovation Challenge Phase II Teams to pursue two long-term modernization concepts.
"The best part of this award is that it represents a true team effort," said Capt. M.C. Holifield, commanding officer, RLSO EURAFSWA. "The "Innovation Challenge" created an opportunity for all members of the command to contribute ideas, despite the wide geographic spread of our offices. The Civil Law Department's officers, enlisted personnel, and civilian employees put their heads together and conclusively demonstrated the incredible power of teamwork. With the goal of improving convenience, quality, accessibility, expediency, and efficiency of services, their innovative efforts are already making a positive difference for those we serve."
The Civil Law Department also implemented extensive innovations to departmental leadership, manning, and organizational hierarchy to maximize talent, improve team cohesion, and overcome challenges generated from limited resources spread across geographically-dispersed offices. The Civil Law Department's significant innovations led the way in modernizing legal assistance services, and high-velocity learning, which resulted in exceptional support of the armed forces legal assistance effort.
"We are extremely fortunate to have an incredibly talented and diverse team representing a wide range of perspectives, cultures, and experience levels," said Lt. Cmdr. Caleb Christen, head of the RLSO EURAFSWA Civil Law Department. "Following the direction of our Triad, JAG Community Leadership, and Navy Leadership, all our team needed was the opportunity to express and develop their creative ideas. In fact, many of our best modernization ideas and process improvements came from our most junior Legalmen and local national civilians. As one of our officers, Lt. Gavin Hillard, liked to say, 'Teamwork makes the dream work.'"
The RLSO EURAFSWA Civil Law Department serves the largest land-mass area of responsibility within Naval Legal Service Command, serving forward-deployed personnel and their families across three continents and four time zones, in combat areas in the Middle East and Africa, and on ships in the Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, and the Persian Gulf. In 2017, the Civil Law Department performed 6,800 customer services for more than 5,300 customers and over 4,550 attorney services for more than 2,000 clients. The majority of clients presented highly complex and multi-country jurisdictional issues. The Civil Law Department also provides host nation legal services, including assisting more than 2,300 personnel with local court marriage documents and visa-related immigration applications.