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 (VLSC). 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 appeals 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 level. The VLSC works with the court programs to identify participants that need help obtaining services/resources that they are entitled to as veterans.
Veterans Advocacy (JD 105) and Veterans Clinic (JD 125)
Through the Veterans Advocacy (JD 105, 2 Credits) and Veterans Clinic (JD 125, 1-4 Credits) courses, John Marshall offers students the unique experience to develop the core principles needed to become expert advocates in the legal community. Students registered in the Veterans Advocacy course are eligible to work at the VLSC for credit where they will conduct an in-depth study of federal, state, and local laws pertaining to veterans' advocacy. Through examination of the historical origins of veterans' advocacy law and the procedural and substantive texts used by the courts and attorneys, students learn federal agency litigation practice, sharpen their analytic skills, and become confident in their ability to deal with clients, federal agencies and the courts.
Clinical students are the backbone of clinic operations and are the students who work directly with the veterans the clinic is assisting. Clinical students primarily work with veterans to analyze their VA disability benefit appeals. This process allows students to gain practical skills including: establishing and maintaining good client relations; fact gathering and investigation; analysis of the facts and applying the law; developing cases strategies and plans; and drafting legal memoranda. Clinical students may also work directly with veterans involved in the criminal justice system by attending court calls, conducting interviews, and researching legal issues.