Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic
Course Number: LAW 6940 Credits: 6
This is an appellate advocacy clinic in a federal administrative law setting. Supervised students assist in representing veterans in appeals to the US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (Court). In these cases, students interview clients and witnesses, research federal cases, regulations, and statutes, and review the record before the agency containing military service records, decisional documents from the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and treatment records. Then, students draft a legal memo to persuade the opposing counsel from the VA Office of the General Counsel to agree to a remand to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board). Students then participate in a staffing conference with the VA. If the VA does not agree to a remand, students then draft full legal briefs filed with the Court. If students obtain a remand, they draft and file with the Court a legal brief seeking reimbursement of attorney’s fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act. Supervised students also assist in representing clients after they obtain remands to the Board. In these cases, students interview clients and material witnesses, work with lay and expert witnesses to develop evidence, and research and write a legal brief before the Board.
Students also research and draft amicus briefs before the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit for high profile issues affecting veterans. Plus, students prepare and submit to the VA comments concerning proposed federal regulations issued by the VA. Moreover, students assist in representing clients seeking military discharge upgrades. For these cases, students interview clients and witnesses, work with lay and expert witnesses to create evidence, conduct legal research, and draft a brief submitted to the Department of Defense organizations that decide discharge upgrade petitions. Finally, students deliver know your rights presentations to veterans struggling with homelessness and ROTC students.