There are limits on when you can pay a lawyer to help you with a VA claim. Generally, you can hire a lawyer only after the BVA has decided your claim. Many lawyers work on a contingency basis that means you do not have to pay them a fee up front. If you do not win benefits, you will not have to pay a fee. Some private lawyers and some legal aid or legal services offices provide representation free of charge at all stages of a VA claim.
There is an organization of attorneys who regularly practice before the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (which has jurisdiction over BVA decisions). Its members are available to represent you at the Court. For a list of these attorneys contact: the National Organization of Veterans' Advocates (NOVA)
If no private practitioners are willing to represent you at the Court, it might be possible to obtain pro bono representation through the Veterans Pro Bono Consortium. The Court will send you information about this opportunity if you file an appeal there.
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Veterans of America, Inc. All Rights Reserved. ISBN 0-964-3980-4-4.