October 2018 Newsletter: Global Pro Bono Week 2018

Global Pro Bono Week 2018

31 October 2018


Upcoming Training

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


TVC is seeking an extern to help our pro bono attorneys win federal appeals cases for our clients before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC). This also includes helping with military discharge upgrades ("bad paper" discharges) and assisting with determination of final outcomes of client cases. Externs will receive academic credit.

The extern will support full-time staff attorneys, volunteer attorneys, and clients who appeal to, or receive a remand from the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, the Federal Circuit, and the Supreme Court. The selected extern will assist in the full lifecycle of case management, from intake to research and strategy, to Court mandate and follow-up, to determine real-world results and impact. Although any student may apply, we give priority to rising 3L students. We are open to externships that count for either one course per semester, or two courses per semester, depending on your law school's current arrangements and preference.

Please address the following questions in your cover letter: Why do you want to work in the area of veterans law? What is your motivation to work with veterans and their families, caregivers, or survivors? What sets you apart from other candidates?

SUBMIT A COVER LETTER AND RESUME detailing your interest and motivation to Courtney Smith, at Courtney.Smith@vetsprobono.org.You may also contact Courtney for answers to questions or additional information.

Applications should be emailed by 15 December 2018 for the Spring 2019 semester.


#GivingTuesday is
27 November 2018

Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving and kicks off the charitable season when many of us focus on holiday and end-of-year giving. We are deeply grateful to our donors and supporters that help advance The Veterans Consortium's mission to assist veterans and their families, caregivers, and survivors. #theyfoughtforus

Wreaths Across America

National Wreaths Across America Day
15 December 2018 at 8:00 AM

Please join us once again for this holiday tradition as TVC Staff and members of our local TVC National Volunteers CorpsSM gather to place wreaths on the graves of our country's heroes. Details to follow!


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Visit our website at www.vetsprobono.org

2018 Pro Bono Week

In honor of global Pro Bono Week 2018, The Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program, along with the support of our TVC National Volunteer CorpsSM, coordinated seven events around the country, three of them simultaneously. Over 80 veterans and their loved ones received pro bono services from our dedicated volunteers.

2018 Legal Muster

Third Annual TVC Legal MusterSM

The Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program coordinated our Third Annual TVC Legal MusterSM on Friday, 26 October. Veterans were assisted at three simultaneous pop-up legal clinics across our nation's capital. TVC's Veterans Pro Bono Legal Clinics were held at the VA Medical Center, Neighborhood Legal Services Program–DC, and The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Easterseals, in Silver Spring, Maryland.

During the legal clinics, volunteer attorneys and law students met with veterans, conducted triage of their stated needs, offered legal information, and provided legal referral resources. Quality pro bono services were provided to veterans and their loved ones in the DC area by 18 members of our TVC National Volunteer CorpsSM and 33 law students. These pro bono clinics introduced volunteer attorneys to the Federal Veterans Pro Bono Program. This helps to inspire law students to participate in veterans' law cases and consider a career in public interest law while making a real difference in the lives of veterans.

TVC Outreach at the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency

TVC Director of Litigation, Judy Donegan, was invited by the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency to speak for the second time at its Accreditation Training on 24 October. The presentation informed VSOs and others in attendance about the Federal Veterans Pro Bono Program and the resources we have available to them. Judy answered questions about appealing to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and applying to Military Discharge Review Boards.

TVC Outreach at the 2018 John Marshall Veterans Law Symposium

Dave Myers, TVC Director of Program Development, was invited to present at the 2018 John Marshall Veterans Law Symposium on 25 October in Chicago, Illinois. Dave presented information on "Benefits Available to Veterans". The event was sponsored by the John Marshall School of Law Veterans Legal Support Center and Clinic and featured experts from military, veterans and medical fields addressing the legal issues facing veterans and service members. The symposium, aimed at improving the quality of legal services available to veterans, included benefits, handling debts owed to the VA, employment rights, representing clients with PTSD, Discharge Upgrades and the financial exploitation of veterans.

John Marshall Veterans Law Symposium

Andrew C. Tangen, Esq., Superintendent, Veterans Assistance Commission of Lake County, Illinois, and David Myers, TVC

TVC Discharge Upgrade ProgramSM Clinic Sponsored by AT&T and Akin Gump

Our Equal Justice Works Fellow, Danica Gonzalves, Esq., travelled to Dallas, Texas, to work alongside attorneys from AT&T and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, where they met with veterans and reviewed their discharge upgrade situations. AT&T and Akin Gump are sponsoring Danica's two-year Equal Justice Works Fellowship (2017-2019) with TVC's Discharge Upgrade ProgramSM, along with pro bono attorneys from the sponsoring organizations and our TVC National Volunteer CorpsSM.

Discharge Clinic - AT&T and Akin Gump

Danica Gonzalves, Esq. (TVC) with AT&T and Akin Gump Staff

TVC Discharge Upgrade ProgramSM Clinic Sponsored by Blank Rome and PNC Bank

Danica traveled to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for a TVC Discharge Upgrade Clinic hosted by Blank Rome and PNC Bank, who generously provided the facility and underwrote the cost of meals, travel and materials for the 23 October event.

She worked alongside attorneys from Blank Rome and PNC Bank. These attorneys have been trained by our TVC Discharge Upgrade ProgramSM to help veterans with Other Than Honorable discharges due to conduct related Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). They help veterans apply for discharge upgrades and obtain the benefits they deserve.

Discharge Upgrade Clinic Sponsored by Blank Rome and PNC Bank

Danica Gonzalves, Esq., (TVC), Tim Millett (PNC Bank), Mindy Turici, Jamie Whetzel, Amy Coles, Jayme Butcher, Eddie Edwards (Blank Rome Staff)

Volunteer Inspiring Pro Bono (VIP):
Sean Twomey, Esq.

Sean Twomey, Esq.
Sean Twomey, Esq.
Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP
Member, TVC National Volunteer Corps SM

As a student at the University of Virginia School of Law, Sean Twomey spent hours working with a local lawyer who had taken on pro bono cases with The Veterans Consortium. Under the lawyer's supervision, he was given the opportunity to write briefs on behalf of veterans and was thrilled when "his" brief helped secure a victory for the widow of a Vietnam veteran.

Today, Twomey, a litigation associate in the Los Angeles office of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, takes on cases from The Veterans Consortium himself so he can do the same mentoring with local law students. "The more cases we can take, the more veterans we can help," says Twomey, 33, who became the founding attorney for the pro bono veterans law project at the University of California Irvine School of Law. "It's a great way to get law school students involved in this type of law."

For his dedication to veterans and law students alike, Twomey has been selected as The Veterans Consortium Volunteer Inspiring Pro Bono (VIP) for October 2018.

Twomey's passion for helping veterans was inspired by a photo of his grandfather, a U.S. Marine Corps pilot, clad in all his gear and standing in front of his plane. It hung in his grandparents' San Diego home when Twomey was little and that image is seared in his mind. "I have a similar look, but I'm nowhere near as awesome as he was," says Twomey, who grew up in Santa Barbara, California. Still, he credits that photo and the years of family military service as the motivation for his pro bono work with veterans.

Both of Twomey's grandfathers served in World War II, with one serving in the Korean and Vietnam Wars as well. He also has uncles who are veterans of Desert Storm. He remembers how well his grandmother was treated by the Veterans Administration, but he knows that's not the case for all veterans and their families. "Part of what I can do as a lawyer is help people who haven't been treated that way," says Twomey, who got his undergraduate degree from UCLA.

Twomey enjoys practicing law because it reminds him of his years of competitive sports, growing up playing soccer, football and baseball. "Our litigation team gets along like teammates and we work together to win," Twomey says.

Courtney Smith, director of outreach and education for TVC, calls Twomey, "The ultimate team player. The work that Sean has done over the years is inspiring. He turned his law school initiative into an opportunity for so many UC Irvine students, who may go on to take pro bono cases themselves one day. We truly appreciate Sean's dedication to our Program and commitment to spread our work on behalf of veterans and their families, who are always sacrificing for our nation."

Twomey enjoys the outdoors and spending time with his rescue mutt, Freyja.

Executive Director's Corner

Ed Glabus
Ed Glabus
Executive Director

Thank you to the Members of Congress, the Judiciary and Executive Branches, Mission Partners, Supporters and Honorees who joined us on 3 October at Union Station in Washington, DC to recognize the work of so many impacting the lives of Veterans. It was a privilege to share such a special evening with all of you who are making a difference in the lives of veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors.

Thank you to our sponsors of all levels, not only for your financial support but also for your continual partnership with TVC, your pro bono legal support, and in-kind support for our trainings and clinics. Your enthusiasm for our program and recruitment of participants on our behalf is invaluable to us. So many veterans benefit from our partnership in very real and tangible ways and we can't thank you enough.

I'd like to especially recognize our lead event sponsors for their support to a very special evening:

  • Champion Sponsor Arnold & Porter Kay Scholer, who helped us obtain the beautiful East Hall, in historic Union Station;
  • Hero Sponsors BakerHostetler and Nationwide, who furnished the video, sound and decorative lighting.
  • Freedom Sponsor Blank Rome, whose support provided the staging, decorations, and event programs, and;
  • Patriot Sponsor Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison, whose donation provided the amazing music from the military and veteran group, Voices of Service.

We were also honored to have a distinguished group of panelists participate in our Fireside Chat, including Senator Tammy Duckworth, Ms. Adria Horn, Mr. Steve Parker, and Ms. Colleen Miller, Esq. They shared their insights regarding issues critical to our most vulnerable veteran population and the opportunities for significant impact as we work together to help veterans, their families, caregivers and survivors meet their real-life challenges. To learn more about our panelists and to view the event program click here.

Most especially, we want to again thank and recognize our 2018 TVC Pro Bono Mission Partner Awardees, who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in providing the best legal services, free of charge, to help veterans and their loved ones meet their challenges.

  • Greenberg Traurig LLP, 2018 TVC Law Firm Pro Bono Mission Partner (Regional Leadership)
  • Quarles & Brady LLP, 2018 TVC Law Firm Pro Bono Mission Partner (National Leadership)
  • Blank Rome LLP and VMware Inc., 2018 TVC Law Firm/Corporate Pro Bono Mission Partners (Regional Leadership)
  • AT&T, Inc. and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, 2018 TVC Law Firm/Corporate Pro Bono Mission Partners (National Leadership)
  • Butler Weihmuller Katz Craig LLP, 2018 TVC Chairman's Award (Organizational)
  • Leo Dombrowski, Esq., Sanchez Daniels & Hoffman LLP, 2018 TVC Chairman's Award (Individual)

Thank you for your service and your commitment to equal access to justice for those who took an oath to defend our country.

Ed Glabus

2018 TVC Pro Bono Mission Partner
Awards Reception & Fireside Chat

Moderator: Lee Woodruff
Fireside Chat Panelists: Senator Tammy Duckworth, Steve Parker,
Adria Horn, Colleen Miller

2018 TVC Law Firm Pro Bono Mission Partner Award (National Leadership)
Quarles & Brady LLP

National Leadership Award

Lee Woodruff, Courtney Smith, Mary Ann Gilleece,
Dawn Caldart, Colleen Miller, Michael Levey

2018 TVC Law Firm Pro Bono Mission Partner Award (Regional Leadership)
Greenberg Traurig LLP

Regional Award

Lee Woodruff, Courtney Smith, Mary Ann Gilleece,
John Altenburg, Jr., Robert Mangas

2018 TVC Law Firm/Corporate Pro Bono Mission Partners Award (National Leadership)
AT&T Inc. and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

National Leadership

Lee Woodruff, Courtney Smith, Mary Ann Gilleece,
Steven Schulman (Akin Gump) Bill Drexel (AT&T)

2018 TVC Law Firm/Corporate Pro Bono Mission Partners Award (Regional Leadership)
Blank Rome LLP and VMWare

Regional Leadership

Lee Woodruff, Courtney Smith, Mary Ann Gilleece,
Kathy Ochroch, Kay Patterson

2018 TVC Chairman's Award (Organizational)
Butler Weihmuller Katz Craig LLP

Organizational Award

Ed Glabus, Lee Woodruff, Mary Ann Gilleece,
Doug Berry, John Garraffa

2018 TVC Chairman's Award (Individual)

Individual Award

Ed Glabus, Mary Ann Gilleece, Leo Dombrowski,
Senator Tammy Duckworth, Lee Woodruff

Special Recognition Pro Bono Mission Partner Award (Government)

Government Award

Jim Sandman (LSC President), Lara Eilhardt, Mary Ann Gilleece, Samantha Stiltner

5000th Pro Bono Program Case Special Recognition Award

5000th Case Award

Jim Sandman, Judy Donegan, Mary Ann Gilleece


Thank You to All Our Sponsors


Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP







Blank Rome



Akin Gump Streuss Hauer & Field LLP

ATT, Inc.

Butler Weilhmuller Katz Craig LLP

 Paul, Weiss, Rifikind, Wharton & Garrison LLP



American Legion

Capital One

National Veterans Legal Services Program

Duane Morris LLP

Greenberg Traurig LLP

Marriott International

Mary Anne Gilleece

National Association County Veterans Service Officers

 National Veterans Legal Services Program

Paralyzed Veterans of America

Quarles & Brady LLP


The Webster Group

White & Case LLP



ABK Veterans Law

Baker Botts LLP

Bergman & Moore


Fish and Richardson

ManTech International

McCarter & English

The Home Depot

Troutman Sanders



Chisholm Chishold & Kilpatrick

Crowell & Moring LLP



National Organization of Vterans Advocates



Contact TVC, a national 501(c)(3) charity celebrating 25 years of pro bono legal services to U.S. veterans and their loved ones in federal venues. Our website:www.vetsprobono.org.

Copyright © 2018. The Veterans Pro Bono Program.
All rights reserved.