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.
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.
Our Clerks & Clinical Interns
Students registered in the Veterans Advocacy course 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.
In addition to managing theoretical legal problems presented by veteran status, the clinical program emphasizes the practical aspects of handling Veteran Benefits Administration claims from the initial factual intake to the technical aspects of representation at the appellate level. John Marshall's veterans clinical program affords law students the exciting opportunity to work in person with veterans while under the direct supervision of licensed clinical attorneys and professors.