Veterans Law Practicum

Group of Veterans Law Practicum students
Veterans Law Practicum Crew 2021-2022, from left to right: Joe St. Clair, Prof. Olivia Cole, Prof. Rose Carmen Goldberg, Tyler Baylis, Jaisy Kim, Ilana Aides-Klok, Wynne Tidwell, Matt Sardo (also featuring military MRE, meals ready-to-eat, to fuel practicum work)

What We Do

The U.S. military is at the center of some of the most important social justice issues of our time: sexual assault, racism, and discrimination against LGBTQ individuals.

In the Veterans Law Practicum (VLP) students are introduced to the impact of these and other issues on affected servicemembers and veterans and are armed with the substantive knowledge and lawyering skills necessary to fight these injustices.

Through the Seminar component of the course, students gain an understanding of substantive veterans law, with a focus on federal benefits and legal remedies available to military sexual assault survivors, veterans with mental health conditions, and veterans who were unlawfully kicked out of the military due to discrimination. Students learn foundational veterans law doctrines, evidentiary standards, and how to navigate the byzantine Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Department of Defense administrative systems. 

In the Practicum, students put the knowledge gained through the Seminar to work advocating on behalf of veterans. Practicum work varies based on the needs of the veteran community, but prioritizes advocacy on behalf of vulnerable veterans, including those experiencing homelessness, criminal-justice involvement, and acute mental health conditions.

Previously, VLP students have worked to correct the discharge statuses of local veterans unlawfully kicked out of the military consequent to experiencing sexual assault and discrimination, and to secure VA benefits eligibility for local veterans with mental health conditions stemming from their military service.