March 2018 Newsletter: Welcome to the New Members of Our TVC National Volunteer Corps

IN THIS ISSUE

22 March 2018

IMPORTANT DATES TO REMEMBER

TVC CAVC Attorney Training

Boston, MA

Date: 27 June 2018

More information to follow

Sponsored by:

Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP

Nutter


Seattle, WA

Date: 27 September 2018

Sponsored by:

Foster Pepper PLLC

Foster Pepper

For any questions or more information, please email Leigh Hillebrand at Leigh.Hillebrand@vetsprobono.org, Coordinator, Volunteer Outreach & Education.

To register or more information, please click here.


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Volunteers Inspiring Pro Bono (VIP):
Andréa M. Augustus, Esq.

Andréa M. Augustus, Esq.
Andréa M. Augustus, Esq.
Member, TVC National Volunteer Corps

Andréa Augustus thought she was signing up for a continuing legal education course, with the promise that she'd work on one case. Instead, the course, taught by The Veterans Consortium, was just the beginning of years of pro bono work with veterans, whom she considers her favorite clients.

"I got sucked in," says Augustus, with a laugh. "I think what really pulled me in is that my Dad is a Vietnam Veteran and he's struggled with what he qualifies for in terms of benefits." But most importantly, she says, is that even though it's her time she's giving to help veterans, "they are giving to me."

It's these important relationships, that has kept Augustus, a New Orleans native, returning for more cases. For her exemplary service providing legal help to veterans, Augustus has been chosen as The Veterans Consortium Volunteer Inspiring Pro Bono for March 2018. Augustus, who started her own private practice in 2013, is currently enrolled at Seton Hall Law pursuing studies in Healthcare Privacy Law. She enjoys learning about the veterans, their jobs, their history. "There's just a different way you interact with a veteran who has had a case in limbo for many years. They are very gracious," she says. "The practice of law is draining and you do need to be replenished. Doing the work with veterans, that does that for me."

One case stands out to Augustus. It involved a World War II veteran who suffered medical issues related to exposure to asbestos on the ship where he served. His case was initially denied with a finding that there was not substantial exposure. Augustus did some digging and found that the ship was out of commission because of asbestos. "When you find that, it's exciting," says Augustus, a single parent to an energetic six-year-old girl. Despite her successes, there's still one file she's not allowed near – her father's. "He won't let me touch his files," she says. "But he'll ask me questions."


Welcome to the New Members of Our TVC National Volunteer Corps

Welcome to the newest members of our TVC National Volunteer Corps from the Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC offices in Washington, DC. Thank you for volunteering to serve our nation's Veterans and their families, caregivers, and survivors through the federal Veterans Pro Bono Program.

Eckert Seamas


Faces of TVC: Mike Kail

Mike Kail
Mike Kail
Senior Fellow

As Mike Kail looked forward to retirement after 43 years as a litigator, he didn't envision warm sunny beaches or long days on a golf course like many prospective retirees. Instead, he was intent on finding an opportunity to get involved with an organization that does pro bono work. Kail, 72, a Boston native who grew up in New York, found hundreds of organizations from cancer societies to soup kitchens, but he knew he wanted to do something to help veterans.

"I'm not a veteran. My father was killed in World War II before I was born so I was exempt from serving in Vietnam. As a result of that, I have always felt that there was something I missed," Kail says, noting that he had a number of friends who served in Vietnam, but were not honored for their service as servicemen and women are today.

As Kail mulled options, an associate at Steptoe & Johnson, where Kail was a partner, inquired about what Kail would do next. When he mentioned serving veterans, the associate quickly connected Kail with a friend at The Veterans Consortium. Kail had no interest in doing appellate lawyering anymore and was unsure he'd be a match for the TVC mission. But during the meeting, Kail learned of other opportunities to serve the organization. Up until recently his work was focused on ensuring that TVC clients had continuity of representation if, because of TVC success at the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, they were permitted to again seek benefits at the VA. He is now getting more involved as a Senior Fellow in TVC's Discharge Upgrade ProgramSM, which serves veterans with Other Than Honorable military discharges received for conduct related to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

With his other days, Kail, who lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland, likes to spend his time reading, writing and doing carpentry. He also volunteers with Habitat for Humanity. He and his wife, Wendy, enjoy spending time with their family of three children and five grandchildren.

To read more about Mike, click here »


TVC Discharge Upgrade ProgramSM Training

Discharge Upgrade Clinic

TVC Discharge Upgrade ProgramSM Training

More than 30 participants from around the country attended The Veterans Consortium Discharge Upgrade ProgramSM training at The American Legion offices in Washington, D.C., on 14 March. These participants are now able to assist former service men and women seeking discharge upgrades for Other Than Honorable (OTH) discharges. An Other Than Honorable characterization becomes a part of the veteran’s record and can create a roadblock for veterans trying to access VA benefits and find jobs. It also often results in damage of reputations and stigmatization for veterans. We are happy to welcome our newest volunteers joining the ranks of our TVC National Volunteer Corps!

"The training offered valuable insight into military life and ways to be sensitive to the client population, and it was extremely focused on practical advocacy tips. It left me feeling confident that, with the support of The Veterans Consortium, I could immediately take a case and be an effective advocate for my client. In only a short afternoon, I went from having no knowledge of the process involved in advocating for a discharge upgrade to understanding the process and feeling like I had a reliable roadmap to follow. I left the training acutely aware of how desperately this program is needed because of the real world cases presented. I am eager to take a case of my own," said Justin Daniel, Attorney with Baker Donelson.

For more information about our TVC Discharge Upgrade ProgramSM, please contact Danica Gonzalves, Esq. by email at upgrades@vetsprobono.org.


#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.


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