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Spring 2025 Clinic

Veterans Law and Disability Benefits Clinic

To learn more about the Clinical Curriculum and Registration, please visit our Clinical Registration Center. You can also find more information on How to Register for Clinics and How Clinical Credits Work.

For more information about this clinic, please visit the Clinic Website , view OCP Blog Highlights, or visit the Veterans Legal Clinic Blog. You can also learn more about each Project within this clinic by watching the Veterans Justice Project Q&A, Estate Planning Project Q&A or the Safety Net Project Q&A. In addition, as this clinic is part of the Legal Services Center (LSC), you are encouraged to visit LSC’s Clinical Student FAQs page.

Enrollment in this clinic will fulfill the HLS JD pro bono requirement.

Required Class Component: Veterans Law and Disability Benefits Clinical Seminar (2 spring classroom 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: December 13, 2024.

LLM Students: LLM students may enroll in this clinic through Helios. Please Note: LLM students may take this clinic for 2 clinical credits.

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 access to the health care, income supports, benefits, and opportunities necessary to their wellbeing. The Clinic focuses on serving individuals who are marginalized and underrepresented, including individuals with mental health conditions, Military Sexual Trauma survivors, LGBTQ+ veterans, veterans of color, individuals who are living in shelters or otherwise unhoused, and formerly incarcerated individuals. Overall, the Clinic seeks to enhance each clients’ independence, control over decision making, and ability to live with dignity.

To these ends, students in the Clinic engage in hands-on lawyering and work with their own clients. Through clinical practice, students learn skills such as client and witness interviewing; client counseling; working with medical experts; gathering evidence; drafting pleadings, motions, briefs, and legal instruments; presenting cases at evidentiary hearings or oral argument; engaging in negotiation; developing strategic litigation strategies; and solving ethical dilemmas. In many instances, students have opportunities to engage in systemic reform initiatives, such as through strategic litigation, policy advocacy, and innovative collaborations.

Students select within which of the Clinic’s three projects they would like to work: (1) the Veterans Justice Project, where students represent veterans and survivors in administrative appeals and litigation to challenge wrongful denials of veterans benefits, to petition for military discharge upgrades, and to pursue systemic reforms in the health and benefit systems that serve vulnerable veterans; (2) the Estate Planning Project, where students represent veterans and their families in estate and financial planning matters such as wills, powers of attorney, trusts, advanced health directives, and VA fiduciary cases; or (3) the Safety Net Project, where students represent clients in administrative and court appeals to challenge wrongful denials of Social Security disability benefits and other safety-net programs, and in criminal record sealing and expungement processes. Students are also welcome to work across two different projects if that is of interest, in which case the workload in each project will be adjusted accordingly. Clinic instructors will reach out to registered students well before the start of the semester to inquire about their project preference(s) and answer any questions students may have about the work of individual projects.