December 2017 Newsletter: VA General Counsel volunteers with TVC

IN THIS ISSUE

16 Dec 2017

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.

Moot Court Competition Winners

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

Danica Gonzalves

Danica Gonzalves

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 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!

HERO

Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer

FREEDOM

BakerHostetler

Nationwide


ANNUAL REPORT

2016 Annual Report

Click here to view our Annual Report.


LEGAL CLINIC UPDATES

TVC's Veterans Pro Bono Legal Clinic every Friday at the VA Medical Center
50 Irving Street, NW, Washington DC

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.

Holiday Closings:

The Clinic will be closed on the following days in conjunction with Federal Government Holiday weekends:
· December 22
· December 29

CAVC Attorney Training

Date: February 9, 2018

Location: Tampa, FL

Hosted By
: Quarles & Brady
101 East Kennedy Boulevard
Suite 3400
Tampa, Florida 33602

22 - 28 Oct 2017

 

Date: June 27, 2018

Location: Boston, MA

Hosted By:
Nutter McClennen & Fish
155 Seaport Blvd
Boston, MA 02210


The Veterans Consortium is the leading national 501(C)(3) charity providing pro bono legal services in federal venues for veterans in  need.

CFCC

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.
CFC#: 95004

For more information on donating, please click here.


LEARN MORE ABOUT TVC: Videos

What We Do

Click here to view.

How Our Legal Clinics Help Veterans

Click here to view.


CONNECT WITH US

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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."

Jim Byrne

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.

#theyfoughtforus

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:
"We are happy to be able to support the mission of The Veterans Consortium. It's always gratifying to know that our funding will go towards helping those who have served in our armed forces and selflessly defended our country."

Venable LLP


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.

Atlanta Training


Faces of TVC: Judy  Donegan

Judy DoneganJudy 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.


Volunteers Inspiring Pro Bono: VIP
Diane Hester

Diane Hester Diane Hester
Member, TVC National Volunteer Corps

Attorney Diane Hester's favorite part of the law is researching it and writing briefs. After scaling back to part-time and then contract work with two New York City law firms to balance the demands of work and family, she decided to become a solo practitioner and focus on what she loved. About the time Hester started to write briefs, her childhood best friend, Cynthia Brandon-Arnold, chief staff attorney/deputy clerk for the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC), mentioned The Veterans Consortium and thought Hester would love doing pro bono work on behalf of veterans. Brandon-Arnold was right.

"It's been very interesting," said Hester, 51, of Albany, New York, who was selected as TVC's Volunteer Inspiring Pro Bono (VIP) for the month of December. "I have learned a lot working on veterans' cases. It's a whole different world. When I first started, I was on the internet all the time trying to figure out the terms and the jargon – I had to get through all that in order to make it to the legal issue. I love to learn new things and I love appellate briefs."

She still keeps in touch with her first TVC client, a then 97-year-old World War II veteran from the Philippines, who served in the U.S. Army. It took two years to litigate his case, which ended up being settled by the VA. "He still sends me photos," said Hester, a graduate of Harvard Law School. Hester has volunteered with TVC since 2013 and has taken four cases. One is still active.

"Diane is a diligent and dedicated attorney who cares about her veteran-clients and pro bono practice," said Courtney Smith, TVC's Director, Volunteer Outreach & Education. "We are grateful for the gift of her practice and the integral role she has played in ensuring our nation's Veterans receive the benefits they were promised and rightfully deserve."


Executive Director's Corner

Ed Glabus Ed Glabus
Executive Director

With the holiday season and year-end celebrations upon us, I wanted to express our gratitude to the many members of TVC's National Volunteer Corps who have worked selflessly during this past year to help veterans in need and their families, caregivers and survivors by providing the best legal services free of charge to meet their challenges. In addition, I'd like to especially thank our many donors, particularly those who donated during Giving Tuesday. It is support from you that enables us to continue to achieve success for our veterans.

Included in this December edition of our newsletter is a story about a grant we received from The Venable Foundation that will enable us to improve our training for pro bono attorneys working with our TVC Discharge Upgrade Programsm. It is this type of leadership, from a law firm that is already providing pro bono attorneys to work with our veterans that truly makes a difference. These funds will be invested to advance our capability and capacity to provide equal access to justice for all our service men and women.

Again, on behalf of all of us on The Veterans Consortium staff, warmest wishes for your holidays and all the best for 2018.

 


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