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Ellsworth Judge Advocate team recognized by American Bar Association

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Brittany Kenney
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

The Staff Judge Advocate team for Ellsworth Air Force Base was recently named one of five top nominees for the 2023 American Bar Association Legal Assistance for Military Professionals Distinguished Service Award (ABA LAMP DSA), specifically in the group category.

This award is given in recognition of exceptional achievements or service to, or in support of, military legal assistance effort, to which the team of approximately 10 Airmen excelled at throughout the year.

“Most of what helped us gain recognition for this award were our four most basic topics for legal assistance,” said Nadine Sims, JA legal assistant. “We focused heavily on legal advice, running the base tax center, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and collaborating base wide with other departments.”

According to Sims, the tax center had their largest turnout last year. With the help of 22 volunteers, the team filed over 800 tax returns with more than one million dollars in refunds for clients. Their efforts saved service members and their families thousands of dollars in tax service fees.

Additionally, Capt. Krista Gould, JA chief of operations law, collaborated with the 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron to provide legal briefs to 125 Airmen over the course of 18 hours. The briefs shared information about wills, powers of attorney, notaries, and more.

For Gould and the team, this nomination was a culmination of all their hard work for the year, a feat that was made more meaningful as the American Bar Association is not military affiliated.

“The ABA is massively influential; their awards mean something,” said Gould. “The fact that we were able to convey to civilians what we do and it was appreciated and understood is remarkable.”

The American Bar Association was founded in 1878 and serves as a private, membership-based organization that works to promote a variety of topics on legal education, competence, ethical conduct, and for the legal profession.

Armed with the knowledge of what it took to become a top nominee for last year, the team plans to keep working hard and win this year.

“We’ll definitely be repeating what we did last year and just add to it,” said Sims. “We have a good foundation being top nominee. Now we want to keep it up and find additional ways to help our community, as that’s ultimately what matters.”