Veterans trade in military life to become legal aid attorneys

Pollem is among a trio of Indianapolis attorneys who left the military as officers, went to law school and have since found their way into legal aid.

News Story (Indiana)

Marilyn Odendahl
Indiana Lawyer
May 18, 2016

Tags: Justice for All, Pro Bono, Veterans

Organizations mentioned/involved: Indiana Legal Services (ILS)


For the military veterans who seek help from Indiana Legal Services Inc., attorney Polli Pollem is likely a welcome comfort. The director of the military assistance project can speak the acronym-laden language of the armed forces, understands the labyrinth of ranks and duties, and knows the demands of life in uniform because for 22 years she served in the U.S. Air Force.


They credit their time in the service with providing them the means to get an undergraduate degree and fostering the desire to pursue a J.D. It also gave them the opportunity to learn how to handle responsibility and meet people from diverse backgrounds and cultures.

At the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic, Dee Dee Gowan, staff attorney and director of the low income tax clinic, and Art Johnson, in-house volunteer attorney, are both veterans. Gowan served eight years in the U.S. Navy and Johnson retired as a brigadier general after serving almost 28 years in the U.S. Air Force.