Capacity Building

Capacity building is critical for inclusion. Pro bono attorneys, advocates, and community partners work with the inclusion project to ensure more veterans have access to the healthcare and benefits they deserve. 

Direct Representation

Connecticut Veterans Legal Center is the nation’s first legal aid to provide free representation to veterans recovering from homelessness and mental illness in a medical legal partnership with the VA. The Veterans Inclusion Project grew out of CVLC’s ongoing representation of veterans who have been unjustly shut out of VA benefits or otherwise stigmatized through discriminatory discharge practices. Through this representation, CVLC has learned firsthand how transformative and powerful it is for an excluded veteran to finally gain access to VA services and to regain their honor and dignity through discharge upgrade petitions to DOD. Veterans seeking direct representation should contact CVLC.

Our Pro Bono Program

Benefits are not automatically awarded to disabled low-income veterans; some are turned away illegally by the VA, and others do not automatically qualify for care without legal help. We rely on pro bono teams to provide our clients with transactional pro bono legal help. 

Prior to partnering with pro bono teams, we obtain the client’s military records, and draft an extensive transfer memo discussing the case, procedural posture, and possible legal arguments. 

Transactional Pro Bono Team Work  

Pro bono attorneys can work in legal teams (associates, paralegals, partners) reviewing military and medical records, developing legal strategies, and drafting a persuasive brief to submit to the military review boards. 

Performed Remotely or Using Office Teams

Pro bono attorneys can perform this work remotely because we provide cloud-based access to the veteran’s military and evidentiary files, reference materials, and model forms. Interviews with the client can be performed via video conference or telephone.

“I grew up in a family of veterans—father, uncles, cousins—many of them having served in WWII.  So when I looked for ways to honor the service of our veterans, using my legal background was a natural fit.  The world has changed since my father and his contemporaries served and we understand much more about issues veterans may face.  Through my pro bono work on discharge upgrade appeals with the CT Veterans Legal Center, I have had the privilege of telling the stories of veterans whose discharge status has stigmatized them, and getting them the justice and upgrade they deserve.  They tell me it’s life changing for them, but it’s just as meaningful for me.”

Jane Milas

Our Legal Trainings & Resource Support 

Veterans Inclusion Project attorneys work with law firms and corporate legal departments across the country to support pro bono legal teams serving our veterans. 

Legal Trainings & Case Support

Attorneys and support staff are provided with in-person or virtual trainings on the laws governing the military and veteran benefits programs so pro bono teams are prepared and qualified to handle cases. 

Transfer Memos & Record Collection

Veterans Inclusion Project attorneys are readily available to answer questions or discuss legal strategy informally or through formal, case rounds style group discussion.

Access to Model Legal Briefs & Virtual Legal Resources

Attorneys are provided with virtual access to our internal discharge upgrade brief bank and veterans law resources. 

Professional Malpractice Insurance

Veterans Inclusion Project provides professional malpractice coverage to pro bono attorneys serving our clients.

“I began focusing my pro bono work on veterans issues as a way to honor my husband’s service in the military.  A discharge upgrade is a life-changing result. It has been the highest honor of my legal career to deliver a successful result to a veteran who was unjustly excluded from the VA.  The CVLC, through its dedicated and knowledgeable staff, provided the support I needed to provide representation to a very deserving individual.  Volunteering for the CVLC is a way to stand up for our nation’s heroes who have given so much in service of our country.”

Christina Schoonmaker

Get Involved

If you’d like to be involved in one of the Veterans Inclusion Project initiatives, send us your contact information with this form. We’ll be in touch.

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