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295.4D sec. 001 - Veterans' Law Practicum (Spring 2020)

Instructor: George Horvath  (view instructor's teaching evaluations - degree students only | profile)
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Units: 1
Grading Designation: Credit Only

Due to COVID-19, law school classes were graded as credit/no pass in spring 2020.

Course Start: January 13, 2020
Course End: April 24, 2020
Class Number: 32271

Enrollment info:
Enrolled: 2
Waitlisted: 0
Enroll Limit: 10
As of: 06/16 11:02 PM

The Veterans Law Practicum is dedicated to helping veterans navigate the complex system of benefits available through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Students who participate in the Veterans Law Practicum gain first-hand experience working with the large, underserved population of U.S. veterans. Students staff the Practicum’s free legal clinic held at the San Francisco VA Medical Center (and, depending on enrollment, at other locations). At each clinic, students interview prospective clients to identify each client’s particular needs. For legal issues within the scope of the Practicum, students perform background legal research to determine whether the Practicum can provide advice or offer representation. This decision is made jointly by the students and supervising attorney. Students are responsible for following up with the clients they have met. Once a decision is made to take on a client, a team of students will be assigned to work on the case.

Students also work on at least two ongoing projects each semester. Many of these projects involve cases that have come from the legal clinic or that have been referred from other sources. Typically, these are appeals following denials of applications for VA disability and other benefits to which the client was entitled. Students develop their legal research and writing skills through the drafting of Notices of Disagreement, Appeals, Complaints, and Motions for Summary Judgment. Students serve as the primary points-of-contact with the clients. Students may also work with clients to prepare for in-person or remote hearings.

Practicum students have also worked on variety of projects, including:
• Legislation to amend statutes governing certain VA benefits and programs
Working with congressional staff, Practicum students have performed research and assisted in the drafting legislative proposals
• Upgrading discharge status for veterans discharged under the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell program
• Assisting veterans with recent criminal convictions through the Oakland Veterans Court program

Students may also propose new projects, which will be evaluated by the instructor.

An organizational class session will be held during the first week of classes at a time convenient to all participants and the instructor. Regular meetings of the teams assigned to each case will be scheduled throughout the semester.

Law 295.4C (Veterans' Law Practicum Seminar) is a co-requisite.

Requirements Satisfaction:

Units from this class count towards the J.D. Experiential Requirement.

Exam Notes: (None) Class requires a series of papers, assignments, or presentations throughout the semester
Course Category: Public Law and Policy
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