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Military Affairs – Steps to Secure and Maintain VA Office of General Counsel Accreditation

References: 38 C.F.R., Part 14 (Legal Services, General Counsel, and Miscellaneous Claims)

Complete VA Form 21a, attaching letter in good standing from The Florida Bar and letters (or proofs) of admission to the Federal Court(s) to which you may be admitted. Mail or fax to the Office of General Counsel (OGC) in Washington.

Within weeks you should get a letter from the VA OGC providing your Accreditation Number which should be noted on all future correspondence with any VA office, including any Regional Office.

Annual Certification

Within one year of the accreditation letter and every year thereafter, you must certify in writing that you are in good standing in each jurisdiction, court or agency you showed on the VA Form 21a. Report changes within 30 days, too (see 38 C.F.R. §14.629(b)(4)).

Continuing Legal Education (CLE)

Within one year you must attend a three-hour qualifying CLE meeting requirements (see C.F.R. §14.629(b)(1)(iii)). Within three years and each three years thereafter, attend an additional three-hour CLE meeting requirements (see 38 C.F.R. §14.629(b)(1)(iv)).

You may or may not receive reminders from the OGC. In any case, you must be compliant with 38 C.F.R §14.626 – §14.637 in order to qualify to receive fees and other payments from your clients. There are rules therein for “filing” selected VA-related fee agreements with the OGC. It is best to read these sections thoroughly for current requirements and maintain currency with any changes.

You are strongly encouraged to read and to periodically review the OGC Frequently Asked Questions and set up a system to review the C.F.R. for any changes.

Visit the VA Office of General Counsel website for the most up-to-date information.