William C. Meili's Blog, Military Law Attorney
Welcome to the Meili Law Blog where we provide current information on the firm's successes and challenges as well as news and trends related to our practice areas.
SHOULD NOT HAVE TAKEN THIS LONG
In January 2019, roughly two years ago, I received a call from the parents of a young man in the Army Reserve. Their son, a drilling Reservist, had accepted a dream job in China, and had tried to work through his chain for permission to move OCONUS. Moreover, he believed he had done everything properly to secure that approval. However, within 3-4 months his parents were receiving letters from the Army notifying them that their son was being dinged for Unsats - unexcused absences - "U's" in the language of TPU soldiers everywhere. For months the father tried to intervene with the Army on behalf of his son for resolution short of an involuntary discharge and bad paper, but he was repeatedly met with a stony wall of silence.
I took on the case figuring it would be maybe six months tops before we could resolve things favorably for all parties. As I almost always do, I reached out to the servicing JAG office, made good connections through the lawyers, and through them with commanders involved, and was confident that we were on our way. But . . . and this was admittedly quite unusual in my experience - for the next 10-12 months Client's paperwork withdrawing the elimination action and recommending transfer to the IRR bounced back and forth between command levels from the local unit, battalion, brigade - all the way up to group/division level and back several times. Things flat out got lost in the shuffle, or just sat on someone's desk for weeks, if not months at a time. Fortunately, my JAG contacts finally came through. Client had his bad paper pulled, he was transferred to the IRR and he was able to stay and work in China. During the entire year of COVID 2020! (Better watch our what you ask for, right?)
Epilogue: Earlier this year - over a year after his transfer to the IRR, and right at two years since I took that call from his parents - Client received his DD 214 and Honorable Discharge. Everybody gets busy. And yes, deployments happen and more pressing matters take precedence, but shuffling what should have been a fairly routine admin action like this back and forth for so many months, is just plain wrong. If you're finding yourself confronting a similar, "stony wall of silence" and inexplicable inaction, feel free to give us a call.
v/r Bill Meili 214 363-1828 office main.
Published Date: Tuesday, April 27, 2021
How Teamwork Between Client and Lawyer Pays Dividends
First, this from the Client's perspective:
"I have known Bill over 20 years in a business relationship. When I needed a criminal defense attorney he was the first person I wanted to talk to. From the moment we spoke I knew he would take extraordinary care of me and he did. His knowledge, respect from Prosecutors, Judges and others in the Judicial system was evident and worked in my favor. Because of his knowledge and contacts he was able to get my charge reduced and disposed of. I will recommend him to my family, friends and colleagues for any type of legal issue they may have and know that they will be handled with respect and care by a lawyer who gets the best results for his clients."
And now from my (the lawyer's) perspective: This client did everything my co-counsel and I asked, period, from Day 1. She was precise, punctual, went above and beyond with getting us history, documentation, counselor's assessments - and perhaps most importantly - she asked questions . . . good solid questions, right up to the court date and beyond. All of which made us better at helping her and getting her to where she wanted to be - and where she should have been - when the judge ruled.
As a father of a former military client of mine once said, "we looked for a lawyer and we found one, but what we really found was a partner." And that's what really makes things go - a partnership between client and lawyer.
Grateful for this client, the defense team and partnership we forged.
Published Date: Thursday, April 8, 2021
Senior Army Officer Client Retained by Board of Inquiry (BOI)
Just returned from a Show Cause Board (BOI) representation for a wonderful client who now gets to continue service. This case started back in June 2020. Client had a stellar career and record to show for it. But as sometimes happens, life happened, missteps were made and GOMORs were filed - permanently. My client had initially come to me for help with a retirement packet which would have meant review by the AGDRB. After we met, though, it became clear that client wanted nothing more than to stay in uniform and continue doing the job she loved so much. So, fully aware of the consequences, client pulled her retirement request, with her command's blessing, and we waited for the inevitable Show Cause notice from HRC.
Several delays and months followed, but we eventually got to present the case and tell the story to the Board last week. With a lot of help from many people - in and out of uniform - my client's story came together and it was powerful, moving and authentic, and ultimately as a result of all of that, persuasive.
Extremely grateful for the Board members who listened and took great care with an important matter for our client and for the Army. I'm also grateful for the help and assistance received from TDS co-counsel and from my friend and long-time colleague Richard Hutto, who backstops me and keeps me pointed in the right direction on many of these challenging cases. Also, there were a host of the client's supporters who weighed in with live, in person testimony, by phone and with letters. The depth and breadth of this support was truly extraordinary and a clear reflection of our client's worth and future value to the Army.
And of course, none of this would have happened but for the leap of faith our client took when she pulled her retirement paperwork and placed her future, solidly and confidently, in our hands.
These are the cases which stay with you in good and positive ways forever really. And they serve as reminders of what's best in all of us, and in the institutions, processes and procedures we've navigated for years. Here's what our client wrote about her experience, with permission, and anonymously of course: Senior Army Officer Client Retained by Board of Inquiry (BOI)
If you're facing a career ending Board of Inquiry (BOI) - aka Show Cause Board - it would be a privilege to visit with you about it, and, perhaps, guide you through the process. Thank you. Bill Meili. Office 214 363-1828; Cell 214 536-3888; Email: email@example.com
Published Date: Wednesday, March 17, 2021
Sometimes good things just happen. Had a friend call about two weeks ago. He had a pending DWI in another state … from 1998. Correct … 22 year old case. You can imagine my initial phone call to the court clerk of record. Well, after some additional calls and a little diplomacy, my friend and I received word that the District Attorney’s office in this particular jurisdiction was going to withdraw the arrest warrant, close the case and be done with it. The fact that the arresting officer was no longer around might have had a little something to do with that decision — maybe?! Client’s grateful, and it truly was a pleasure working this one for and with him. So, if you have a pending DWI, give me a call sometime in the next 22 years and I’ll see what I can do! Cheers. (214) 363-1828, meililaw.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published Date: Tuesday, October 15, 2020
STRANGER TIMES CONTINUE
So far as I can tell, the Board of Inquiry process for active duty officers remains slowed. No new word in several months about a change in policy, so still driving on under the rules in place that during the pandemic, you still have the right to appear in person at the Show Cause, vice taking a turn thru the online platform mode.
We’re currently engaged with a senior, active duty Army officer on a Show Cause matter, and so will soon have additional insights on this and other processing specifics to share in this space.
Published Date: Tuesday, October 15, 2020
ARMY SHOW CAUSE BOARDS/BOARDS OF INQUIRY (BOI) DELAYED
Received word today that the Army has decided that all Respondents at Show Cause Boards and counsel have a right to appear in person before a live panel. While there may be an opportunity for a Respondent in a Board proceeding to waive in person attendance and have the Board held remotely, in person attendance is still a right.
Since DoD has now extended its travel restriction order until 30 June, in-person Boards of Inquiry (BOIs)/Show Cause Boards are likely going to back-log for the next 2 and a half months or more. As such, there might be some additional opportunity in the upcoming months to negotiate and discuss favorable options with the servicing judge advocate offices in any given Show Cause action. Email: email@example.com or phone: 866-578-0164
Published Date: Tuesday, April 21, 2020
I contacted Col. Meili as a fellow practitioner to gain some context and perspective on a pretty complex set of issues. Because I practice in a different field of law, Col. Meili's extensive expertise was invaluable and he was more than generous with his time. A skilled and dedicated professional who cares deeply about obtaining the best possible outcome for his clients, Bill's a leader in this field.
- Steffen Chapin
After an exhaustive search of military attorneys, I came across the name of Bill Meili. From my first email exchange and telephone call, I knew that Bill was the right person to handle my case. I had discussed my unique circumstance with a handful of other attorneys who felt it may be too difficult to achieve the outcome that I was seeking - but Bill was interested in me and my case, and wholeheartedly believed that we had the ball in our court. I could tell that Bill cared about me as a person and soldier, not just viewing me as a paycheck.
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