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Jessica Marsden

2016, Equal Justice Works Fellowships, Jessica Marsden

Jessica Marsden

Name of Host Organization: University of North Carolina School of Law Clinical Program
City, State: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Issue area: Veterans' Rights
Sponsors: Raytheon Company, Kirkland & Ellis

The Project

Represent central North Carolina veterans in VA benefits appeals and discharge upgrade applications, and initiate a UNC law clinic to empower UNC law students to advocate for veterans in the same proceedings.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project
As veterans return from deployments, many struggle with physical and mental health challenges caused by their military service. Those with service-connected disabilities are entitled to health care from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). But for many veterans, the VA claims process can be a slow, frustrating, and even insurmountable challenge. Legal representation significantly improves a veteran’s chance of success in both benefits and discharge upgrade proceedings.
The Right Person For This Project
Jessica is the right person for the project because:
• She is committed to helping veterans navigate the sometimes-labyrinthine path to obtaining needed benefits
• She has two years of experience representing low-income veterans in VA benefits, pardon, and other proceedings while in law school
• Her experience and enthusiasm, together with that of UNC’s law students, will expand access to justice for veterans and raise awareness in the legal community of these important issues