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Veterans Law Clinic

Widener Law School

4601 Concord Pike

Wilmington, DE 19803

(302) 477-2090

NOTE: information on this site does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.

Veterans Law Clinic


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Learn what you can do to start a veterans law clinic at your school.

The Need for Veterans Law Clinics in Law Schools

Approximately 2 million veterans have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan, many of which suffer from the physical and mental injuries of war. Of the nearly 1.3 million veterans discharged since 2001, nearly half have filed disability compensation claims with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Since 2005, the number of new claims filed at the VA has doubled, causing significant delays in the time it takes veterans to receive both free health care and compensation for their service-connected disabilities. As the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently noted in its decision, Veterans for Common Sense v. Shinseki, it now “takes an average of more than four years for a veteran to fully adjudicate a claim for benefits.” The court went on to state:

   During that time many claims are mooted by deaths. The delays have worsened in recent years, as the influx of injured troops returning from deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan has placed an unprecedented strain on the VA, and has overwhelmed the system that it employs to provide medical care to veterans and to process their disability benefits claims. For veterans and their families, such delays cause unnecessary grief and priva- tion. And for some veterans, most notably those suffering from combat-derived mental illnesses such as PTSD, these delays may make the difference between life and death.

Since 2006, attorneys have been authorized to represent veterans on a fee-basis arrangement after veterans file a Notice of Disagreement with a decision made by one of the local Regional Offices. Yet few attorneys are trained in VA law, and even fewer are able to represent needy veterans on a pro bono basis. Veterans law clinics staffed with student advocates can help fill this gap.

A Valuable Learning Opportunity

The number of veterans law clinics at ABA accredited law schools has grown significantly in recent years. Still, only a handful of the 200 ABA-accredited law schools have established clinics focusing on the legal needs of veterans. Like clinics in civil law, environmental law, or criminal law, veterans law clinics provide a valuable learning opportunity for students while serving a critical local need. Students in veterans law clinics learn substantive veterans law, a discrete and timely area of administrative law, while developing key client representation and advocacy skills. For more information about the wide of range of legal services veterans law clinics can provide, contact the Veterans Law Clinic at Widener Law School or visit the websites of one of the other veterans law clinics at a law school below.