Enrollment in this clinic will fulfill the HLS JD pro bono requirement.
Required Class Component: Veterans Law and Disability Benefits Clinical Seminar (2 fall classroom credits). This clinic and course are bundled; your enrollment in this clinic will automatically enroll you in the required course.
Additional Co-/Pre-Requisites: None.
By Permission: No.
Add/Drop Deadline: August 13, 2021.
LLM Students: Please Note: LLM students may take this clinic for 2 clinical credits. LLM students may apply to the clinic through the LLM General Clinic Application.
Placement Site: WilmerHale Legal Services Center (Jamaica Plain).
The Veterans Law and Disability Benefits Clinic advocates for the rights of veterans, their families, and other low-income individuals with disabilities and ensures that they have the independence, health care, income support, and other benefits that they need and deserve. The Clinic focuses on serving individuals who are marginalized and underrepresented, including individuals with mental health conditions, Military Sexual Trauma survivors, veterans of color, LGBTQ+ veterans, and formerly incarcerated individuals.
Students in the Clinic engage in hands-on lawyering and provide direct representation to clients in litigation and non-litigation matters. Through clinical practice, students learn skills such as client and witness interviewing; working with medical experts; gathering evidence; drafting pleadings, motions, briefs, and legal instruments; presenting at evidentiary hearings or oral argument; engaging in negotiation; developing strategic litigation strategies; and solving ethical dilemmas.
Students can select among three projects within the Clinic: (1) the Veterans Justice Project, representing veterans in federal and state administrative and court appeals to challenge wrongful denials of veterans benefits and in military discharge upgrade petitions; (2) the Estate Planning Project, representing veterans and their families in estate and financial planning matters such as wills, trusts, advanced directives, guardianships, and conservatorships; or (3) the Safety Net Project, representing clients in administrative and court appeals to challenge wrongful denials of Social Security disability benefits and other safety-net programs.
In representing individual clients, students have opportunities to engage in systemic reform initiatives, such as through strategic litigation and policy advocacy, to improve the lives of veterans with disabilities.
This Clinic is part of the WilmerHale Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School (LSC), a community legal aid office in Jamaica Plain. LSC’s diverse clinics provide clinical instruction to second- and third-year law students and serve as a laboratory for the innovative delivery of legal services.
For more information on LSC, this Clinic, our docket, and student learning opportunities, please visit: https://www.legalservicescenter.org/students-clinics/veterans-legal-clinic/.