December 2017 Newsletter: VA General Counsel volunteers with TVC
IN THIS ISSUE
TVC Trophy Sponsor for Moot Court Competition TVC
TVC was fortunate to be the Trophy Sponsor for the National Veterans Law Moot Court Competition for the second year. Congratulations to all the teams who participated in this year's competition. Now in its ninth year, the competition brings teams of students from around the country to Washington, D.C., to argue before panels of distinguished practitioners and judges. This annual Competition is conducted by three Co-Sponsors: the CAVC, the CAVC Bar Association, and GW Law.
Photo from the awards presentation (L to R): Judge Michael Allen, Judge Joseph Toth, winning team Leah Towe and Alex Oestreich from Baylor Law School, Senior Judge William Moorman, Mary Ann Gilleece, TVC Chairman.
Veterans Clinic Symposium Features TVC Attorneys as Speakers
TVC Staff members, Dave Myers and Danica Gonzalves were invited to participate in the 2017 Veterans Clinic Symposium: Modern Warfare: Challenges Arising from the Gulf War and the War on Terror hosted by the School of Law, University of Missouri. Myers moderated a panel: "Environmental Challenges: Burn Pits" and Gonzalves presented "Challenging Discharges."
Veterans Helped at Easterseals Legal Clinic
Veterans had an opportunity to meet with TVC Attorney Danica Gonzalves to discuss legal issues and address their various needs at a legal referral clinic on December 6. The event was hosted by TVC and the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Easterseals in Silver Spring, Md. The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Easterseals provides high-quality, accessible, and integrated behavioral health care to veterans and their families or caregivers at little or no cost.
TVC marks the launch of the Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network
Dave Myers and Martin Parsons
Dave Myers, TVC's Director of Program Development, travelled to Southern Illinois University Carbondale on Nov. 7 to participate in the launch of a new, statewide hotline and network of legal support systems for Illinois veterans, active duty military, National Guard, reservists and their dependents. Known as the Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network (IL-AFLAN). This hotline will help connect service men and women to free legal help. SIU is a recipient of a $10,000 subgrant from TVC, that helped to create the Veteran Legal Assistant Program, run by Director Martin Parsons, which committed to take on a federal Pro Bono Program case from TVC. "The Veterans Consortium is honored to be able to assist SIU with its efforts to serve veterans in the Land of Lincoln," Myers said.
Celebrating 25 Years of Pro Bono Service to Veterans and Their Families, Caregivers and Survivors!
Click here to view our Annual Report.
LEGAL CLINIC UPDATES
TVC's Veterans Pro Bono Legal Clinic every Friday at the VA Medical Center
Change in Hours
Please note that beginning December 1st, The Veterans Pro Bono Legal Clinic will operate from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Friday.
The Clinic will be closed on the following days in conjunction with Federal Government Holiday weekends:
CAVC Attorney Training
Date: February 9, 2018
Location: Tampa, FL
Date: June 27, 2018
Location: Boston, MA
The Veterans Consortium is the leading national 501(C)(3) charity providing pro bono legal services in federal venues for veterans in need.
We participate in donations through the CFCC program. Please assist us in expanding our outreach to veterans by including us in your annual charitable giving planning.
For more information on donating, please click here.
LEARN MORE ABOUT TVC: Videos
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Visit our website at www.vetsprobono.org
VA General Counsel volunteers with TVC
One of the first things Jim Byrne did when he became General Counsel for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in August was to envision ways he could use his position to positively influence veterans. When he joined pro bono attorneys from The Veterans Consortium at the Washington, DC VA Medical Center legal clinic on Nov. 17 to help veterans in need and their families, caregivers and survivors, he was simply fulfilling that vision.
"It's a great opportunity to get out of the headquarters building and interact with veterans, not only in the hospital but at the clinic," Byrne said. "It's a worthy initiative to support."
Every Friday, TVC manages a legal clinic at the Washington DC VA Medical Center for veterans and their loved ones to help answer legal questions, troubleshoot legal issues and determine if a pro bono attorney could help them. Byrne joined two other attorneys to do just that. Byrne described the work as holistic and impacting veterans' issues such as homelessness and their medical and physical needs, in addition to legal assistance. "Most importantly, we showed that we care," Byrne said.
Ed Glabus, executive director of TVC, calls Byrne's pro bono work, "leadership by example. He is inspiring his VA Office of General Counsel team to do pro bono service for veterans and their loved ones. He is encouraging attorneys, paralegals, and support staff and showing the way by personally working volunteer shifts, which embodies the true spirit of our TVC National Volunteer Corps."
Byrne's actions were especially fitting on the heels of a November 13 ceremony at the VA, where the VA Office of General Counsel, The Veterans Consortium, the American Bar Association, and the National Law School Veterans Clinic Consortium signed a joint Memorandum of Agreement expressing their shared commitment to sustain and advance pro bono service to veterans.
"It's the first time the VA has stepped up and actually put pen to paper saying we will work with all kinds of legal organizations on behalf of veterans," said Lara Eilhardt, Special Advisor on Veterans' Access to Legal Services, with the VA Office of General Counsel. "It's a public statement that's symbolic and meaningful."
Pictured left to right: Jim Byrne, Veterans Administration (VA) General Counsel, Tom Bowman, VA Deputy Secretary and former TVC volunteer attorney, Mary Ann Gilleece, TVC Chairman, Holly Cook, ABA Government Affairs, and Ed Olsen, Board Member, NLSVCC.
Contact TVC, a national 501(c)(3) charity celebrating 25 years of pro bono legal service to U.S. veterans and their loved ones in federal venues. Our website:www.vetsprobono.org.
Venable Foundation Supports TVC
The Venable Pro Bono Program has been supporting The Veterans Consortium since 2002, by providing volunteer attorneys to assist with legal counsel free of charge to veterans and their families, caregivers and survivors. Now, the Venable Foundation is providing support in an entirely different way. TVC was awarded a Venable Foundation general operating support grant to help convert TVC Discharge Upgrade ProgramSM course materials to host these learning resources online. This will help extend TVC's ability to reach and train pro bono attorneys at a time and place most convenient to the volunteers.
The Veterans Consortium Discharge Upgrade ProgramSM provides national pro bono legal representation to veterans with Other Than Honorable discharges for conduct related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injuries (TBI). PTSD and TBI, resulting from military service, should not preclude veterans from receiving the care, benefits and respect they've earned and deserve.
"The Venable Foundation and the Venable Pro Bono Program have done so much to support our veterans. We are very thankful for their contributions," said Ed Glabus, executive director of TVC. "We especially want to laud Venable for their leadership in providing financial support specifically to help our nonprofit organization advance our mission capability and capacity."
Said Lindsay B. Meyer, president of the Venable Foundation:
Attorneys Join TVC National Volunteer Corps Through Atlanta Training
The Veterans Consortium's "Pro Bono Representation before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC)" regional training took place in Atlanta on November 14. Thanks to sponsors Alston & Bird, the State Bar of Georgia, and Troutman Sanders, more than 50 volunteers were trained in veterans law and handling appeals at the CAVC. We are deeply grateful to our volunteers for their willingness to complete specialized TVC training to help advance our shared mission to assist veterans and their families, caregivers, and survivors.
Faces of TVC: Judy Donegan
Director of Case Management
Practicing veterans law for the past decade has seasoned Judy Donegan for her role at The Veterans Consortium as Director of Case Evaluation and Placement. Years of handling and assisting with more than 2,000 appeals at the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) has given Donegan the practical, hands-on experience to evaluate veterans cases and know which can be successfully adjudicated. Donegan is committed to ensuring that every veteran in need with a meritorious case, who desires representation, has professional pro bono counsel before the CAVC.
With her wealth of experience, Donegan is an educator for TVC interns and externs, and a mentor for pro bono attorneys. She's always eager to field their questions. To support pro se appellants, Donegan often handles calls to TVC's Helpline, speaking directly with veterans, their family members and caregivers. She uses her knowledge to explain options and provide practical information to callers.
"My work has to have social meaning," said Donegan, who joined TVC's team in August 2016 after working in private practice in Rhode Island and Michigan. "Providing access to justice for veterans who might not otherwise get help is really important to me."
A graduate of the University of Baltimore School of Law, Donegan spent about 15 years living in Maryland while growing up, and is happy to be back to this area and near other family members. With four children, two still in their teens, Donegan doesn't have much free time outside of work. But, since moving to Bethesda, Donegan and her family have enjoyed exploring Washington, D.C. and all it offers.
To read more about Judy, click here.
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