November 2018 Newsletter: TVC Welcomes New Staff Attorney to Our Team

IN THIS ISSUE

29 November 2018

THANK YOU FOR YOUR GENEROUS DONATIONS

November 27 was #GivingTuesday. Thank you to those who have generously donated to The Veterans Consortium. For those who haven’t already donated, there’s still time!

We invite you to make your tax-deductible, year-end donation. Click the button below to donate.

#GivingTuesday Thank You


UPCOMING TRAINING

Upcoming Training

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


APPLY FOR AN EXTERNSHIP WITH TVC!

TVC has externships available for qualified candidates interested in helping 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.

< p style="margin-bottom: 6px;">Applications should be emailed by 15 December 2018 for the Spring 2019 semester.


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TVC Welcomes New Staff Attorney to Our Team

Ty Collier grew up in a United States Air Force household, the oldest of three children, with both parents serving. He moved frequently from his birthplace in Texas to Colorado, England, California and Ohio. It was a lifestyle he never envisioned for himself.

“Nothing about the military attracted or intrigued me. I just didn’t think it suited my personality,” Collier, 34, remembers. “I had always known, I didn’t want to be a military person, but then the events of 9/11 occurred and that changed everything.”

The seed that was planted by the attack on our nation on 11 September 2001, eventually turned Collier into an officer in the Marine Corps, where he served four years of active duty and continues to serve as a reservist. He initially thought about the Marine Corps in high school, but a recruiter told him that a concussion he suffered when he was 14 would make him ineligible. It wasn’t until he was studying at Howard University School of Law that he met a Marine veteran who told him to see an officer recruiter, who cleared the path for his military career to begin. “I was surprised, years later, we were still at war [after 9/11],” Collier says. “I thought, why shouldn’t I contribute, too?”

As he prepared for life after military active duty service, his first job interview was with The Veterans Consortium for a staff attorney position. “I thought, this is the first interview I’ve been on, but what a great opportunity this is.” He got a few more interviews under his belt, but was “happy and humbled [TVC] chose me,” says Collier, who also has a degree in National Security Law from Georgetown University Law Center. He’s been busy at work for the past two months screening and evaluating cases and issues for veterans’ appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. He believes his years of military service should aid him in this job. “By virtue of being a military lawyer I have an understanding of the ins and outs of service records, which makes it easier for me to parse out relevant information.”

Collier, who recently married his wife, Doreen, in June, lives in Alexandria, Va. He likes to spend his free time reading, writing and drawing.

“The addition of Ty Collier to TVC’s staff will provide immeasurable benefit to our veteran clients, their families, caregivers, and survivors. "The addition of Ty Collier to TVC's staff will provide immeasurable benefit to our veteran clients, their families, caregivers, and survivors. He’s a Howard University School of Law and Georgetown University Law Center graduate, Marine lawyer, licensed in multiple jurisdictions, ready to serve "the people who've sacrificed much — some, the most — to safeguard our way of life" and we're grateful that he joined our ranks." — Judy Donegan, TVC Director of Litigation & Case Management


Volunteer Inspiring Pro Bono (VIP):
Alexandra Curran, Esq.

Alexandra Curran, Esq.
Alexandra Curran, Esq.
Tate & Lathan, LLC
TVC National Volunteer Corps SM

Alexandra Curran was in her first year at Roger Williams University School of Law when her husband, Justin, joined the U.S. Marine Corps. During her third year of law school, her husband was deployed to Afghanistan. Curran, then the mother of two boys, 2, and 3-months-old, held down the fort. Just a few days after her graduation, his tour abruptly ended. Justin was injured by an improvised explosive device (IED) and put on the Temporary Disability Retired List, which involved a lot of paperwork. Even though his injury and its cause were clear-cut, Curran realized that the Department of Veterans Affairs [VA] disability system could be overwhelming. "I thought, if this is confusing to me, it must be confusing to other people, too. People may need assistance," she says. "At the time, I didn't realize this was a type of law, because we didn't have any classes in veterans disability  law."

Curran, 33, took her first job after law school and clerkships in the specialized area of veterans law. Soon she was immersed in 150 veterans' cases at a time. Now, working in medical malpractice with Tate & Latham in Providence, Rhode Island, Curran still finds plenty of opportunities to represent veterans by taking federal Veterans Pro Bono Program cases before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. For her deft handling of a great volume of veterans appeals above and beyond the call of duty, Curran has been selected as The Veterans Consortium Volunteer Inspiring Pro Bono (VIP) for November 2018.

Courtney Smith, Director of Outreach and Education for TVC, is impressed with the caseload that Curran takes on while taking care of her family, which now includes a daughter, as well as her medical malpractice clients. "Alexandra works tirelessly on behalf of our veterans. She never hesitates to take on more and more pro bono cases. She is a go-to attorney who is dedicating countless hours in service to our veterans."

Currently, Curran is juggling multiple pro bono cases, but she admits, "The VA cases truly don't feel like work to me, so I don't mind helping as much as I can." After she began working at Tate & Latham in 2016, Curran, a Rhode Island native, realized she really missed her work with veterans. She found out about The Veterans Consortium and through it began taking federal Veterans Pro Bono Program cases. Although her grandfather and several uncles served in the military, Curran says she never appreciated it until she lived it with her husband. "That's why these cases mean so much to me, I can really relate to these veterans and my clients seem to appreciate that I've experienced some of what they are going through."


Join Us on Wreaths Across America Day: 15 December

Wreaths Across America

"In many homes, there is an empty seat for one who is serving or one who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. There is no better time to express our appreciation than during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. We hope you will join us at any of our more than 1,400 participating locations to show our veterans and their families that we will not forget. We will never forget". Wreaths Across America

Please join us as we pause during this busy holiday season to honor our fallen service men and women, and to remember those who will spend their holidays standing watch as our nation's defenders. The Veterans Consortium will be sponsoring 56 wreaths to honor veterans from each U.S. State, Territory, and the District of Columbia.

On 15 December at 0730 hours (7:30 am civilian time), TVC Staff and members of our TVC National Volunteer CorpsSM in the DC Metro area will gather at Arlington National Cemetery to participate in a Wreaths Across America ceremony to place a wreath on each grave of our country's fallen warriors.

Across the nation, 1.2 million wreaths will be placed at over 1,400 cemeteries as part of a tradition that began 26 years ago when a wreath-maker from Maine by the name of Morrill Worcester found that he had 5,000 extra wreaths. Rather than wasting them, he donated the wreaths to honor of veterans and their families.

If you cannot join forces with us at Arlington National Cemetery, please consider lending a helping hand at one of the over 1,400 participating cemeteries across the U.S. To find a local cemetery that participates in Wreaths Across America please visit https://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.

If you can join us at Arlington National Cemetery or would like more detailed information, please email us at outreach@vetsprobono.org. If you chose to participate at another location, please let us know and share your pictures with us. We look forward to sharing this meaningful event with you wherever you participate.


Executive Director's Corner

Ed Glabus
Ed Glabus
Executive Director

What an important month this November has been for all of us who strive to honor our veterans and the sacrifices they've made for our country! We celebrated Veterans Day and the 100-year anniversary of the Armistice ending World War I on 11 November and the 242nd Marine Corps Birthday on 10 November. November was also National Veterans and Military Family Month, a time to reflect on the all too often forgotten members of the military family who truly know what it means to serve and to sacrifice for our country.

Traditionally, TVC extends the celebration of Global Pro Bono Week (an annual week of service in late October) through Veterans Day of each year, to offer even more opportunities for our TVC National Volunteer CorpsSM to serve veterans. We were pleased to be able to do this again in 2018. Our staff and volunteers, working with dedicated veterans service officers and local VA employees, hosted legal clinics around the country — including our Third Annual TVC Legal MusterSM — renewing our shared commitment to provide the best legal services free of charge for our veterans and their loved ones.

This year, in addition to the attorneys and paralegals from law firms and corporate legal department who traditionally volunteer, TVC placed an emphasis on including U.S. government attorneys and paralegals in our pro bono activities. We were especially grateful that the VA Office of General Counsel staff helped mobilize fellow attorneys from federal agencies to offer free legal services to help veterans, and recognized their service at a 5 November ceremony where the "VA together with representatives from the departments of Labor, Justice, Defense, Homeland Security, the U.S. Navy and others, signed a joint statement aimed at improving access to free legal services for Veterans in need."

"Legal assistance stands high on the list of many Veterans' important but unmet needs," said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. "Our goal is to make sure our Veterans have access to not only health care and disability benefits, but to community legal services that are central to their overall well-being." (Please read the 5 November press release at https://bit.ly/2yROwqJ.

Attorneys from the VA and 10 other government agencies have joined forces with us at the DC VA Medical Center where TVC manages a weekly Veterans Pro Bono Legal Clinic as part of our Medical-Legal Partnership. We especially want to thank all of the volunteer attorneys and paralegals from the following federal organizations for their commitment and Government Pro Bono service to veterans in 2018:

  • Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
  • Department of Justice (DOJ)
  • Department of Labor (DOL)
  • Department of Transportation (DOT)
  • United States Coast Guard (USCG)
  • Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC)
  • Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
  • Small Business Administration (SBA)
  • Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC)
  • Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)
  • Commissioner at the Federal Mine and Safety Commission (FMSHRC)

#theyfoughtforus

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.


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All rights reserved.