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Veterans Law Clinic Director to Participate in Live Teleconference CLE on Veterans Benefits

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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



How to Start a Veterans Law Clinic at Your School

The Veterans Law Clinic often receives inquiries from other law schools about starting veterans law clinics. In response, we’ve assembled a “clinic in a box” filled with documents to help other law schools hit the ground running as they establish their own veterans clinical programs. We’ve also answered some commonly asked questions regarding clinic operations, funding, and coursework. Still have questions? Please contact us.

Commonly Asked Questions

What legal services does the clinic provide?

The Veterans Law Clinic at Widener Law School primarily represents veterans in filing appeals from the local VA Regional Office to the Board of Veterans Appeals, the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, and beyond. We also represent veterans filing discharge upgrade applications with the Board of Corrections of Military Records. In the past, we have assisted clients with Federal Tort Claims Act cases, VA and Social Security health benefits concerns, state court civil litigation, Freedom of Information Act delays, and criminal expungment issues. The Veterans Law Clinic works cooperatively with the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program, conducts CLE and advocacy training for practicing attorneys, and has partnered with other veterans clinics in filing amicus briefs on key veterans issues. In addition to representing veterans, we conduct and publish research on a number of veterans issues, including veterans treatment courts, a growing trend within the treatment court community designed to rehabilitate rather than simply punish veterans who commit criminal offenses. Other potential areas of involvement include veterans housing and drug rehabilitation issues and class action casework.

What do students in the clinic do?

Students generally enroll in the Veterans Law Clinic for six clinical credits in either the Fall or Spring semesters. If students elect, they may take the clinic for a second semester for the same or a lower number of clinical credits. Each week, students work in the clinic for 20 hours. This time includes a two-hour weekly classroom component in which students learn substantive VA law, discuss their assigned cases in a “firm-style” meeting, and practice client advocacy skills. Outside of class, students work under the direction of a Staff Attorney in representing the clients they are assigned at the beginning of the semester. Students keep track of their billable time and manage their cases using CLIO, a cloud-based client/matter management software application. Students also perform four “administrative hours” in the clinic each week to assist with answering phones, copying and filing documents, and organizing case files. Unless required to be in the clinic, students are welcome to fulfill their weekly hourly requirements at home, the school library, or another location suitable for confidential attorney-client work. The clinic welcomes both day and evening division students. Coursework materials include two volumes published by Lexis/Nexis: (a) the Veterans Benefits Manual, and (b) Veterans Laws, Rules, and Regulations. We also use a hand-picked selection of cases and practicum materials which you can find in our “clinic in a box.”

How is the clinic funded?

Understandably, law schools interested in starting their own veterans law clinics are concerned about funding. Like any clinical program, starting a veterans law clinic requires an institutional commitment to adequately fund the program. After all, the clinic will represent clients whose cases will, in many instances, take several years to fully adjudicate. Direct and indirect costs include a clinic director, a physical location in which students and clients can meet, case file work and storage areas, and administrative and IT support. Though not initially required, some veterans law clinics also expand to include staff attorneys. Fortunately, outside assistance may be available in the form of (a) private, state and federal grants, (b) contracts with local and state governments to provide legal assistance to financially disrtressed veterans, (c) reimbursement awards under the federal Equal Access to Justice Act, and (d) private donations. State elected officials, law school alumni, and local bar associations have all been tremendous supporters of the Veterans Law Clinic at Widener Law School. Through their support, the clinic has been able to represent hundreds of veterans in the Delaware Valley region and assist in the recovery of millions of dollars in retroactive disability benefits.