PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. -- The American Bar Association Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel awarded the legal office here with the Legal Assistance Distinguished Service Award for 2014.
Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center leadership presented the award to the institute's Legal Assistance Office representatives Darwin Strickland and Matthew Shelton May 27. The award is given for exceptional achievements and service while taking into account limited resources available.
"These small offices of two lawyers and a clerk service a joint population of potentially 43,000, while their customer service rating was 97 percent satisfactory," said DLIFLC Commandant Col. David Chapman, as he read the citation.
Some of the efforts the legal team made were providing training and educational briefings to DLIFLC students at convenient times and locations, posting informative papers on common legal issues on the Presidio of Monterey Facebook and website, and hosting team-building events with experts from the Department of Justice, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission.
During tax season last year, the legal team filed more than 1,600 state and federal tax returns saving clients more than $300,000 in filing fees, and returning more than $2.1 million in refunds.
"This is testament that they are doing their job right," said Lt. Col. Tiernan Dolan, staff judge advocate for the Presidio of Monterey.
The American Bar Association awards the Legal Assistance Distinguished Service Award annually to commands that have accomplished exceptional achievement or exceptional service to the armed forces legal-assistance effort.
The Legal Assistance Office here assists active-duty personnel and retirees of all services and their family members with their personal legal affairs.