Students who enroll in this course may count the credits towards the JD experiential learning requirement.
Required Clinic Component: Veterans Law and Disability Benefits Clinic (3-5 spring clinical credits). This clinic and course are bundled; your enrollment in the clinic will automatically enroll you in this required course.
Additional Co-/Pre-Requisites: None.
By Permission: No.
Add/Drop Deadline: January 12, 2018.
LLM Students: LLM students may apply to the clinic by submitting an application.
This seminar is the companion course for students enrolled in the Veterans Law and Disability Benefits Clinic of the WilmerHale Legal Services Center.
Students in the Clinic: (1) represent veterans in federal and state administrative and court appeals to challenge wrongful denials of veterans benefits and in military discharge upgrade cases; (2) represent veterans and their families in estate and financial planning matters such as wills, trusts, advanced directives, guardianships, and conservatorships; or (3) represent clients, some of whom are veterans and others of whom are non-veterans, in federal administrative and court appeals to challenge wrongful denials of Social Security disability benefits. Students also have opportunities to engage in systemic reform initiatives--through litigation and/or policy work--to improve the lives of veterans with disabilities. The seminar provides students with a practical toolkit (including skills related to client and witness interviewing; fact investigation; working with experts; drafting pleadings, motions, and briefs; drafting legal instruments; examining and cross-examining witnesses at hearings; appellate advocacy; presenting oral argument; engaging in negotiation; and solving ethical dilemmas) for representing veterans, their families, and individuals with disabilities. Because of the complex array of legal issues veterans and persons with disabilities face, the substantive law covered in the seminar includes elements of administrative, mental health, probate, and constitutional law, among other relevant topics. The seminar will also provide students an opportunity to consider larger questions about the laws and policies affecting veterans and persons with disabilities and about the design of social welfare programs more generally. For more information about the Clinic's docket and student learning opportunities, please visit: http://www.law.harvard.edu/academics/clinical/lsc/clinics/veteranslegal.htm.
There is no final examination or final paper for this course. Concurrent enrollment in the Veterans Law and Disability Benefits Clinic is required. Please refer to the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs website for clinical registration dates, early add/drop deadlines, and other relevant information.