May 2018 Newsletter: Volunteers, Supporters, and Sponsors Thank You Reception
IN THIS ISSUE
Veterans Legal Corps
Volunteers, Supporters, and Sponsors Thank You Reception
From left to right: Samantha Stiltner, TVC Staff Attorney & Clinic Program Manager; Tom Bowman, VA Deputy Secretary; Jim Byrne, VA General Counsel; Mary Ann Gilleece, Chairman, TVC Executive Board; Lara Eilhardt, VA Office of the General Counsel; Don Loren, VA Assistant Secretary for Operations, Security, and Preparedness, and Ed Glabus, TVC Executive Director
Volunteers, Supporters and Sponsors of The Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program were welcomed to a Volunteer Recognition reception on 24 April 2018. It was a wonderful opportunity to enjoy each other's company and to recognize several members of our TVC National Volunteer Corps. In addition to our volunteer honorees, we were fortunate to host several distinguished U.S. Government guests, including The Honorable Tom Bowman (alumni member of our TVC National Volunteer Corps), VA Deputy Secretary; The Honorable Tim Hutchinson, former U.S. Representative and former U.S. Senator from Arkansas; and The Honorable Don Loren, VA Assistant Secretary for Operations, Security, and Preparedness, and The Honorable Jim Byrne, VA General Counsel, who were joined by Mr. Ronald Flagg, Vice President for Legal Affairs, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary of Legal Services Corporation. Thank you to all who joined forces with us and made it such an enjoyable event, and kudos to the dedicated members of TVC's National Volunteer Corps who received special recognition that night:
Volunteer Inspiring Pro Bono (VIP): Jennifer Librach Nall, Baker Botts
Jennifer Librach Nall
Partner, Baker Botts
Member, TVC National Volunteer Corps
Jennifer Librach Nall, an intellectual property partner at Baker Botts in Austin, Texas knows how to fight for her clients. But it's not just patent litigation where her dedication shines. Nall has been a pro bono attorney in our TVC National Volunteer Corps since 2010 and has spent the last eight years fighting for our nation's veterans. For her tenacity in these legal cases, Nall, 41, has been chosen as our TVC Volunteer Inspiring Pro Bono (VIP) for May 2018.
It's not always the victories that stand out, sometimes it's the journey and in Nall's most memorable case, the battle itself. When asked to discuss a meaningful case, Nall skipped over her many victories and chose to discuss a recent decision that went the other way. She took over a case that was originally argued by a lawyer hired by an Army veteran. The case had previously been remanded by the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) and subsequently denied by the VA's Board of Veterans' Appeals (BVA), before the veteran came to TVC and Nall developed a new argument.
"We had the better argument and appealed to the federal circuit court," Nall says. But basically, the courts ruled that because the argument had not been raised before, it couldn't be raised on appeal. Nall tried to have the case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, but the Court declined to hear the case. Nall's willingness to go the extra mile, taking the case pro bono to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, then to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and even seeking review by the U.S. Supreme Court, are a great example of the dedication, determination, and selfless service.
"It was a procedural process matter and a tough issue," says Dave Myers, director of program development for TVC. "Excellent effort nonetheless. Well done, Jennifer, and thank you for your dedicated efforts as a member of our TVC National Volunteer Corps."
Despite the outcome, Nall, a mother of three children, still refers to this as her favorite case. "It was nice to try so hard to fix something that was wrong with the law," Nall says. "I hope someday the law can be corrected so that more Veterans get the benefits they deserve."
On behalf of veterans and their loved ones in general, and her veteran clients in particular, TVC is deeply grateful for Jennifer Nall's pro bono service above and beyond the call of duty as a member of our TVC National Volunteer Corps.
The Veterans Pro Bono Legal Clinic Celebrates One-Yea Anniversary
2017 Opening of the Veterans Pro Bono Legal Clinic
From left to right: Samantha Stiltner, TVC Staff Attorney & Clinic Program Manager; Ed Glabus, TVC Executive Director; Mary Ann Gilleece, Chairman, TVC Executive Board; Ely Ross, Director of the Mayor's Office of Veterans Affairs; Larry Connell, former Acting Director, DC VA Medical Center; and, Frank Natale, former Director of Litigation and Advocacy, NLSP-DC
The Veterans Consortium was looking last year for ways to further serve veterans that would complement the federal Veterans Pro Bono Program. Looking at the needs of the local community, we noticed an alarming lack of legal resources for low-income veterans. Seeing an opportunity to help, the Consortium partnered with the Department of Veterans Affairs and Neighborhood Legal Services Program-DC to create the Veterans Pro Bono Legal Clinic at the VA Medical Center in Washington, DC. The legal clinic has been an overwhelming success and on 5 May 2018 we celebrated its one-year anniversary. To date, we have served more than 650 veterans and their loved ones!
The Veterans Pro Bono Legal Clinic operates every Friday as a legal information and referral clinic. Members of our TVC National Volunteer Corps meet with veterans and assist them with their legal needs. The legal clinic helps advance TVC's mission by facilitating pro bono opportunities in veteran's law for law students while introducing them to the CAVC's federal Veterans Pro Bono Program, and by providing a venue to help recruit volunteer attorneys and paralegals for the federal Veterans Pro Bono Program to represent pro se appellants before the CAVC. The legal clinic also provides an opportunity for our TVC staff attorneys to do their personal pro bono service, all while serving veterans in need.
Since the clinic's opening, the response from pro bono attorneys, law student volunteers, and VA medical personnel and case workers — and most importantly from veterans —has been extremely positive. The volunteer attorneys and law students routinely give feedback noting how fulfilling they find the experience helping veterans.
These legal clinic volunteer opportunities are a shorter time commitment than the CAVC cases — as little as four hours — and give legal professionals actual one-on-one time with a veteran in need and provide a chance to be of service to our nation's defenders in real time. Come join us for the day!
Congratulations to Samantha Stiltner, our TVC Staff Attorney & Program Manager for The Veterans Pro Bono Legal Clinic, on a very successful year serving veterans and their loved ones! For more information about the legal clinic or to volunteer, please contact Samantha.Stiltner@vetsprobono.org.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Celebrates Law Day, 1 May 2018
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) professionals celebrated Law Day on 1 May 2018 by inviting TVC to CBP's Office of Chief Counsel, to brief them on Pro Bono opportunities available for government employees interested in helping veterans in need. We want to thank the CBP professionals who took time away from their important daily work to learn about pro bono opportunities and for their desire to give their time to help veterans.
We look forward to TVC and CBP working together to serve veterans and their families, caregivers, and survivors.
Executive Director's Corner
As many of you know, May is designated as National Veterans and Military Families Month and 11 May 2018 was Military Spouse Appreciation Day, a day to specifically honor those who serve behind the scenes. We want to take this opportunity to thank military spouses for their service to our country. They sign on for this duty knowing the risks faced by their service members, and they often sacrifice their own careers with the many moves to new duty stations, living far away from friends and family. Military spouses play a critical role in the care and transition of their spouse from active duty to veteran. All too often they become caregivers and survivors. We honor them and their sacrifice for our country and we are grateful for the privilege to support them with pro bono services.
Honor our Nation's Heroes on Memorial Day
We hope that you will join us this Memorial Day, 28 May in honoring those who "gave the last full measure of devotion." You may recall that members of our TVC National Volunteer Corps and staff marked those sacrifices this past December by participating in Wreaths Across America local events. This month, I hope you can join TVC in marking the Memorial Day national holiday. There are many fitting events to consider including Runs for the Fallen (in many states), Memorial Rides (motorcycle and bicycle), the National Moment of Remembrance.
The National Cemetery Administration will host Memorial Day ceremonies at VA national cemeteries across the country. Local communities are encouraged to take part and add their own personal touches. This Memorial Day, find an event near you, and help honor our Service members who died in action. Click here to find a VA cemetery near you.
So, whichever means you choose — Run, Ride, or Remember — we hope you will join with TVC in making this Memorial Day a truly meaningful celebration. And a special thank you, this Memorial Day, to our TVC National Volunteer Corps, mission partners, supporters, and sponsors for helping our Veterans obtain the care, benefits, and compensation they were promised through the best legal services, free of charge, to meet their challenges.
Save the Date
Please mark your calendars for the 2018 TVC Pro Bono Mission Partner Awards Reception & Fireside Chat.
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.
Copyright © 2018. The Veterans Pro Bono Program.