Our Mission

We provide the unmet legal support to veterans. Using the very words in our name, we will provide criminal and civil legal support, up to and including representation, to all veterans who we can assist as they navigate the legal system. The support we provide is currently unmet in our area due to several factors. The first is a lack of financial incentive for the type of cases we take on in this niche practice area. The second is a lack of coordination among the courts and administrative bodies that deal with veterans. The third is the lack of understanding of military and veteran issues in the general public.

About

VLSN was founded in July of 2015 to provide legal assistance to veterans and their families in Nebraska and the surrounding areas. Since that time we have become focused on the following areas of need

  • Discharge Upgrades
  • Veterans that are working their way through the criminal justice system
  • Filling the function of Veterans Treatment Courts in other jurisdictions that match veterans, their counsel, the courts and prosecutors with the service providers that can assist veterans in need in areas such as substance abuse, housing assistance, peer support, mental health, benefits and employment assistance as well as nontraditional assistance such as art or equine therapy and yoga that have proved successful for many veterans across the nation.
  • Veterans, active duty and their family members who need civil legal help but cannot afford it or for some reason cannot use active duty legal assistance offices
  • Wills and advanced directives for elderly veterans and their spouses

After putting their own lives on the line to protect our freedom, we believe supporting our veterans is the very least that we can do. Our legal services are free or at a very low cost to almost all veterans with a financial need or disability, as well as those needing help with disability appeals to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. Contact us if you would like more information about receiving help for yourself or someone you care about.


Our Clients

To date, we have taught and assisted over 400 inmates at Douglas County Corrections and over 50 in Omaha Correctional Center. We have talked to over 60 homeless vets between our 4 stand downs and working with Siena Francis House. We have 8 vets in our Vets Treatment Court right now. We have testified in legislative conferences 3 times and spoke about vets issues in front of hundreds of Nebraskans at Memorial Day, Veteran’s day and other invited events.

Here are a few stories that our clients have asked us to share. 

This map represents who we have helped.

 


Our Attorneys

Mick Wagoner

Mick grew up in Grand Island and graduated from Creighton Prep in Omaha, Nebraska. He attended the University of Texas and received a Bachelor of Arts in 1989. Commissioned as a Marine Second Lieutenant in 1989. He participated in Operation Desert Shield/Storm and Restore Hope in Somalia as a Motor Transport Officer. He then attended Creighton University and graduated with his JD in 1996. Following graduation he became a Marine Corps Judge Advocate and was stationed at Parris Island, South Carolina; first, as a Legal Assistance Officer assisting Marines, retirees and their families with civil legal needs and then as Senior Defense Counsel representing Marines and Sailors facing Courts Martial. He then became the Staff Judge Advocate for the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit and participated in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in 2001 and Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.

Following the MEU, he attended and then taught at the US Army Judge Advocate General Legal Center and School in Charlottesville, Virginia. His next tour was at Special Operation Command in Tampa, Florida followed by his final tour as Staff Judge Advocate for the Marine Corps Air Station at Iwakuni, Japan.

Mick has worked in most fields of military law and holds an LLM in Military Law with a specialty in International Law.

Following his retirement in 2013, Mick worked in fundraising as well as the nonprofit legal sector. He and his wife Susan started VLSN out of a belief that there is a need for specialized legal support for veterans in the Nebraska and surrounding areas.

He is a licensed to practice in the State and Federal courts of Nebraska, the US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and the United States Supreme Court.

Mick enjoys playing golf, watching college sports and losing to his daughters in cards and tennis.

 

Contact Mick


Our Partners

We are growing our Network every day. VLSN is proud to work with the following organizations:

  • Bellevue University Military Veterans Service Center
  • Midlands Community Foundation
  • Nonprofit Association of the Midlands
  • Returning Veterans Resource Network
  • Douglas County Department of Corrections
  • Lutheran Family Service’s At Ease Program
  • American Bar Assn’s Home Front Program

Our Board of Directors

Jim McGough

Jim is a successful trial attorney who has been practicing criminal and civil cases in Nebraska and Iowa for over 18 years and started his own firm in 2002. His litigation practice is built on a team approach and his business acumen in starting and growing a firm is particularly appreciated by VLSN. He did his undergraduate studies at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Tx and earned his J.D. from Creighton University in 1996. He has been a featured speaker on legal issues and has published articles in a Nebraska criminal law journal.  Jim and his wife Rachel live in Waverly, Nebraska on a beautiful acreage where Rachel runs her nationally known crafting courses. Jim spends his free time as a beekeeper and burgeoning BBQ master. They spend what remaining time they have left following Creighton Jays basketball and The Dave Matthews Band.

Suzanne Kaufman-McNamara

Suzanne graduated from Excelsior College, and from Creighton University School of Law with a concentration in Dispute Resolution. Suzanne retired as a Master Sergeant from the U.S. Air Force in 2001. She is married to a retired Air Force Senior Master Sergeant and is sister and mother to combat veterans from the Vietnam conflict and Operation Iraqi Freedom. From 2010 through 2012, she served on the Board of Directors for Grace After Fire, an organization committed to providing the means for women veterans to help themselves through self-knowledge and self-renewal and by connecting women veterans with needed resources.

Suzanne practices primarily in the area of veterans disability benefits claims. She has assisted hundreds of veterans with developing and appealing their claims at VA Regional Offices across the nation. Her past litigation experience includes family law, bankruptcy, and employment law. She is admitted to practice law in Colorado and Nebraska; the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska, and the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. She is also accredited by the Department of Veterans Affairs to represent claimants for VA benefits. She is a member of the Nebraska State Bar Association and National Organization of Veterans Advocates.

Eddie Nelson

Eddie is a retired USAF veteran who spent 35 years in the Air Force, preceded by a 3-year tour in Vietnam as a US Army Soldier. He received an Engineering degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1975 with a minor in Business Administration. He is currently a State of Nebraska certified Peer Support Specialist who enjoys working with and advocating for all veterans. He is a member of numerous veteran’s organizations as well as other community organizations. He is married and the proud father of 4 grown children. Eddie brings a trove of information about veteran’s benefits as well as veteran contacts from around the region.

Judy Wagoner

Judy is a proud native of Wood River, Nebraska. She graduated from Creighton University with a B.A. and J.D. She worked as an attorney for the IRS for over 30 years. In addition to her legal acumen in Estates and Tax, she has traveled extensively and visits her 36 great nieces and nephews as much as possible. She is the founder and director of the Wood River Community Foundation and brings a career of tax knowledge to our organization.

Bryon Line

Bryon was born in Kearney, Nebraska and educated at University of Nebraska-Kearney, Northwestern University, and Georgetown University for graduate school.  He has over 40 years of experience as an Army officer with military communications, special operations, and intelligence leadership as well as management & postgraduate education in strategic intelligence thru the Defense Intelligence Agency.  He is also a graduate of the Seniors in National and International Security and the Senior Executive Fellows programs at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.  He is married to Ms. Patti McQueen, is a grandfather to two grandsons, and is an artist on the side. Bryon brings a host of skills including grant writing and nonprofit operations to VLSN

Contact VLSN Today

If you have a questions or are in need of legal assistance.