Law Students & Law Clinic Partners
2020 New Equal Justice Works Fellows
The Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program is fortunate to have been selected to host two outstanding Equal Justice Works Fellows, who will join us to support new initiatives focused on serving the needs of veterans. We are very grateful to their sponsors, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Covington & Burling LLP for their generosity and commitment to veterans and to supporting real life solutions to serve their unique needs.
Chesley Roberts is originally from Tallahassee, Florida and is a recent JD graduate from Stetson University College of Law. Her two-year project sponsored by Lockheed Martin, will focus on the legal needs of women veterans and the unique issues they face. Chesley's project will be to support the recently launched TVC Pro Bono Legal Clinic for Women Veterans, which is held virtually on the 2nd Tuesday of each month. This legal clinic is exclusively for women veterans and staffed by female volunteer attorneys and law students. Chesley will help to manage the clinic and provide direct legal services, as well as research and compile resources to navigate certain legal issues and other barriers that women veterans face. Chesley will work with our volunteer attorneys, law schools, and Veteran Service Organizations to further understand and address issues that impact the lives of female veterans.
Nicqelle Godfrey, grew up in Sacramento, California and recently earned her JD from Georgetown University Law Center. She is being sponsored by Northrop Grumman and Covington & Burling LLP. Her two-year project will focus on the development of a program to provide education, support, and free legal services to immigrants seeking naturalization through military service. According to the Immigrations and Nationalities Act, those who serve honorably in the U.S. Armed Forces are eligible for expedited naturalization. However, in recent years there has been a decline in the number of naturalization applications, an increase in the obstacles to application, and an increase in the denials of such applications. The rate of denials among non-citizen military personnel is now higher than their civilian counterparts. To succeed in serving this community, Nicqelle will create and distribute resources to veterans that outline the process of naturalization through free legal clinics and immigration assistance projects nationwide. She will develop a referral program that can be delivered to veterans organizations to expand the reach of this program. She will conduct outreach to create a new Volunteer Corps to identify and train new attorneys who are interested in assisting immigrants with military naturalization. Finally, she will provide free legal assistance to veterans who are applying for military naturalization and appealing naturalization denials.
We look forward to welcoming both Chesley and Nicqelle as part of the TVC team this fall.
Current Equal Justice Works Fellow
Current Equal Justice Works Fellow, Samantha Farish, hails from Tennessee, and is a graduate of The George Washington University Law School. Samantha has extensive experience in veterans law, including time as a Jeffrey Stonerock Extern at The Veterans Consortium as a 2L at GW. Her two-year project, Veterans Benefits Advocacy, is sponsored by Morgan, Bockius & Lewis LLP. For her project, Samantha advocates for and provides direct pro bono representation to veterans seeking service-connected benefits who have had their case remanded back to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) by the appellate court after they have successfully appealed an unfavorable decision by the agency. Samantha identifies and classes each case remanded by the US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) for appropriateness for continued attorney representation. She not only navigates the daunting appeals process for veterans, but also provides training to volunteer attorneys on how to successfully represent these veterans on remand. The training Samantha provides attorneys with gives them the tools to on how to research and find new evidence to present to the Court.
TVC Legal Scholars Program
We operate The Veterans Consortium Legal Scholars Program as part of our mission to encourage and facilitate pro bono representation by law school, clinical and other appropriate programs. This effort introduces law students to the federal Veterans Pro Bono Program and exposes them to careers serving veterans and their families, caregivers and survivors. This program is comprised of several TVC projects including:
Deadline: August 30, 2020
Deadline: January 31, 2021
Law Clinic Partners
Partnering with The Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program
A number of law school clinical programs across the country teach law students about veterans law and how to handle VA benefit claims and appeals. Part of the mission of The Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program is to encourage and facilitate pro bono representation of veterans, their loved ones, and their surviving family members through these law school clinical programs. We support these law clinic partners by providing “Clinic-in-a-Box” materials, by training clinical professors and participating law students, by providing them with screened pro bono cases from The Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program, plus mentoring support and some grant opportunities (please see below for information about grants).
We are happy to work with law school clinics who are interested in taking an appeals case as a Program Partner. The Veterans Consortium requires participating law clinics to have at least one supervising professor/advisor throughout a case. In most instances we require the professor/advisor who runs the clinical program be trained by The Veterans Consortium and to have handled at least one veterans appeal through the Pro Bono Program. The training requirement may be waived in certain cases.
The training provided by The Veterans Consortium comes through a free day-long seminar which teaches attendees about veterans law and effective representation at the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC).
Any lawyer/professor who attends this training must agree to represent a veteran (or a veteran’s loved one or surviving family member) before the CAVC. Cases can take up to a year to complete and take about 60 hours if they do not require participation in an oral argument. Only about 1% of cases go to oral argument.
Any clinical advisor wishing to become involved in a clinical program or needing further information can contact Caitlin Ens at email@example.com. If you’d like your law clinic or program to be added to our group of schools (below), please send a description of your clinic’s mission and contact information to Caitlin Ens at the above email address. Additionally, if you are considering starting a veterans law school clinic or service program, please contact us so we can assist you.
Grants for Law School Veterans Clinics
The Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program offers grants to law school veterans clinics to launch their operations or to advance their work on behalf of veterans and their loved ones or their survivors. The number and amount of grants awarded will vary based upon the total funds available for distribution that fiscal year and the number of grant applications received.
General Instructions & Guidelines
All applicants must complete the grant application. Please contact Caitlin Ens at firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of the grant application.
All applications should present, in a clear and concise manner, a detailed description of the circumstances of the clinic for which funds and/or resources are requested. Upon review, additional information may be requested to substantiate the funding and resource request.
The number and amount of grants awarded will vary based upon, among other things, the total funds available for distribution. Each tier may require, depending on the scope of legal services provided by the clinic, a commitment from the law school to provide representation at the CAVC.
Tier 1: Clinic in a Box (10+ available)
The Clinic in a Box will include the materials necessary for starting a veterans clinic at your law school. This may include the following materials: sample forms, Veterans Benefits Manual(s), access to our online course “Appellate Advocacy before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims,” information pamphlets, and textbooks. The representation commitment includes one appeal to the CAVC.
Tier 2: Clinic in a Box and Training (5-10 available)
This includes the materials listed above, as well as a live webinar training (virtual) for students, administrators, and attorneys involved in the creation of a veterans clinic. This training will cover the basics of getting a clinic started, conducting outreach to veterans and veterans’ organizations, representing veterans at the Court, and other topics. The representation commitment includes three appeals to the CAVC.
Tier 3: Clinic in a Box, Training, and Stipend for Essential Resources (1-5 available)
This includes the above as well as a stipend for resources needed in order to create your clinic. Normal grant amounts for essential resources will range between $5,000 to $10,000. The representation commitment includes five appeals to the CAVC.
Deadlines and Period of Review
The Veterans Consortium will complete the review of each grant application and provide a timely decision within one month of receipt.
Review Criteria & Procedure
Various factors which may be considered in determining the grant awards and amount of the grant awards include but are not limited to:
- Purpose of the veterans law clinic
- Law clinic budget
- Purpose for which the materials and/or funds will be used
- Oversight of the law clinic
- Clinic staffing
- Student participation outcome(s)
- Impact of materials and/or funds on the law clinic and the clinic’s service to veterans
- Number of grant applications received
- Funds available in the fiscal year
- Receipt of a previous grant from The Veterans Consortium