Academic journal article The University of Memphis Law Review

Perspectives on the Veterans Clinic Model at Law Schools: Lessons Learned by an Instructor and a Student

Academic journal article The University of Memphis Law Review

Perspectives on the Veterans Clinic Model at Law Schools: Lessons Learned by an Instructor and a Student

Article excerpt

I. Introduction 944

II. Skills Training at the Veterans Clinic at the University of Missouri School of Law: Lessons Learned 944

A. First, a Few Words About the Clinic 945

B. What Worked and What Did Not 946

1. Reaching Out to Others 949

2. Course Coverage 953

3. Managing v. Mentoring 955

B. Finding Their Talents and Protecting Their Souls 957

C. Building on the Law School 's Strengths 960

D. Conclusion 962

III. PERSPECTIVES FROM THE STUDENT: STACEY NICKS 963

A. Problem Solving, Legal Analysis, and Reasoning in the Veterans Clinic 964

B. Legal Research and Factual Investigation 966

C. Communication and Counseling 968

D. Client-Centered Representation: Patience, Persistence, and Never Forgetting Whom the Claim Belongs To 970

E. Recognizing Ethical Dilemmas 971

F. Conclusion 972

I. Introduction

The following essays present two perspectives on the Veterans Clinical Model. One is written by an instructor, and one is written by a student. Both essays discuss experiences at the newly created Veterans Clinic at the University of Missouri School of Law.

II. SKILLS TRAINING AT THE VETERANS CLINIC AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI SCHOOL OF LAW: LESSONS LEARNED

I consider one of my greatest professional accomplishments to be launching The Veterans Clinic at the University of Missouri School of Law in the spring of 2014.' After decades of private practice followed by teaching as an adjunct, I currently have the privilege to serve as the Clinic's Supervising Attorney and Instructor. It is always exciting to be part of a new academic venture, whether that might be a new course, a program, or a clinic. It has been particularly exciting to be part of this new project here at Missouri because of the Law School's commitment to prepare students for the practice of law through the teaching of client-centered skills. In the following sections, I share some of my experiences during the Clinic's first year of existence.

A. First, a Few Words About the Clinic

The mission of The Veterans Clinic is to help veterans and their families secure disability related benefits provided by the federal government.2 These benefits range from educational stipends to compensation for service connected disabilities.3 Clinic services are offered to low income veterans and their dependents. The Clinic does not charge its clients for its services.4 Often, readjustment to civilian life is difficult for veterans and many have trouble finding employment. Helping veterans with educational benefits is important because these benefits increase marketability in an increasingly competitive job market. Disabled veterans in particular have paid a high price for serving their country. The Clinic is specifically designed to give back to these veterans.

The Clinic is also designed to provide students with important practical experience. Because student work is done at each level of adjudication-from the Regional Office level to the Court of Appeals for Veterans' Claims-students learn the importance of making a good record and arguing the law. The practical skills introduced in the Clinic include: law firm and time management, client interviewing and counseling, problem solving, legal theory development, negotiation, record collection, witness statement preparation, medical record chronologies, and appellate brief writing and argument. Importantly, the Clinic highlights the importance of pro bono work in a lawyer's professional life.

All work is performed in a law firm atmosphere. Weekly debriefing conferences allow students an opportunity to present the substantive issues involved in their cases, as well as to review the evidence they assembled. Collaboration is the hallmark of the Veterans Clinic. Students are both paired with peers and encouraged to reach out to experts in the field.

B. What Worked and What Did Not

As with any new project, the first year of the Clinic's operation was educational both for the students and for me. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.