Veterans Legal Support Center & Clinic
A Commitment to Effective Veterans Advocacy
In 2006, three John Marshall degree candidates recognized that veterans were having trouble navigating the Veterans Benefits Administration claims process. In an effort to provide legal assistance to such veterans, they created the Veterans Legal Support Center & Clinic. The VLSC works on all aspects of Veteran Benefits Administration claims, from the initial, factual intake to the technical representation of claims at the appellate level. To effectively represent veterans in the VA claims process, the VLSC recruits, trains, and manages a network of pro bono attorneys. The VLSC provides these attorneys training, matches them with veterans in need of legal aid, and assists with research and support throughout the process.
In the years since opening, the VLSC has expanded to become involved in court programs for veterans at both the state and federal levels. In 2010, the VLSC received a grant from the Department of Justice allowing the VLSC to expand its scope and establish the Justice Involved Veterans Initiative. The initiative operates independently within the VLSC in order to effectively facilitate four objectives: 1) to continue working with the newly created Illinois Veterans Treatment Courts and to study the outcomes of similar courts throughout the U.S.; 2) to work with federal magistrates in implementing a holistic approach to aid veterans at the Federal Enclave Misdemeanor Court; 3) to provide a centralized source of information about the relationship of domestic violence to post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain disorder; and 4) to replicate the VLSC at other law schools throughout the U.S.
As the VLSC grows, it will continue to provide the following services to the legal and veteran community:
- Materials and brochures to educate the public about veteran advocacy and specific issues facing veterans
- Legal research, advice on how to practice before the Department of Veterans Affairs, and sample forms and briefs to help practitioners assist veterans
- Conferences, educational courses, and training materials aimed at education lawyers about new developments in veteran law
- Communication with community and veteran service organizations to be a force multiplier for programs with limited resources
- Outreach and research into the next legal issues and impediments veterans are likely to face
- Publications and lectures on topics related to military service and the law
The VLSC will always remain committed to providing effective legal service to our nation's veterans.