The Bob Parsons Veterans Advocacy Clinic
In the last year, the Clinic provided pro bono legal services to 20 veterans, and trained 12 law students to represent veterans in VA benefits and discharge upgrade cases. Every veterans' story is meaningful and below is an example of how Clinic students are providing legal services that are impactful and that are changing the lives of veterans for the better.
Clinic students represented an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran in the Baltimore City Veterans Treatment Court. The veteran suffered from severe PTSD and was homeless. Clinic students obtained the veteran's military records, and found that the veteran's overseas service had not been recorded on his DD-214. The students drafted a petition to the Army to correct the record, and assembled a PTSD claim so that the veteran could receive benefits for housing.
In addition to learning critical advocacy skills, the students are developing experiences that will help them exceed in the workplace. One former Clinic student was selected for an attorney position in Group 7 of the VA Office of General Counsel, the team that litigates cases on behalf of the VA Secretary before the Veterans Court. Another student obtained employment with the VA's Board of Veterans Appeals. Multiple former students have been recommended for a commission in the JAG Corps and are awaiting selection board results. It is tremendously exciting to see UBalt students leveraging their Clinic experiences to compete and be selected for prestigious attorney positions in public service.
The Clinic director has formed the following partnerships with community stakeholders to determine the needs of veterans and to build relationships to support students and veterans:
- University of Maryland Psychology Clinic
- Robert L. Koffman, M.D., Medical Director, Semper Fi Fund
- Trauma Recovery Program, VA Maryland Health Care System
- National Law School Veterans Clinic Coalition (NLSVCC)
- Maryland Office of the Public Defender
- Homeless Persons Representation Project (HPRP)
- Fick & May, LLC
- U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General Network
- Veterans Advisory Group
UB School of Law continues to build a venerable advocacy program that allows students to represent veterans, advocate for veterans initiatives, and provide outreach to the community. The Clinic also continues to support the Baltimore City Veterans Treatment Court. The Clinic now provides criminal and civil legal services, and manages the mentor training program. We will continue to coordinate with the Office of the Public Defender and the Maryland Judiciary on this expansion which will allow justice-involved veterans to receive full legal representation while exposing students to an array of criminal and civil litigation issues.
Thanks to The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation, The Clinic is serving the needs of veterans in the community, and training students to think critically about their role as attorneys. Bob Parsons Veterans Advocacy students acknowledge a strengthening of their commitment to public service and professional responsibility and directly attribute this growth to their Clinic experience.