Photo of Abbey Lent

Abbey Lent

  • Hosted by Inner City Law Center
  • Sponsored by Kirkland & Ellis, Raytheon Technologies
  • Service location Los Angeles, California
  • Law school The University of Michigan Law School
  • Issue area Medical-Legal Partnership
  • Fellowship class year 2018
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Abbey developed a medical-legal partnership with the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center to provide chronically homeless veterans with legal services focused on obtaining income and housing stability.

The streets of Los Angeles are home to nearly 5,000 military veterans on any given night. Many of them suffer from severe disabilities which stem from service-related injuries. Although VA benefits can provide veterans with stable income, these life-changing benefits are already incredibly difficult for many veterans to access given the immense complexity of the VA benefits system. Coupled with the significant challenges that come with homelessness and disability, access can be impossible. Medical teams comprising experienced physicians, psychologists, and clinical residents, like the one at the Center of Excellence (CoE) at the West L.A. VA Medical Center, provide comprehensive healthcare to the most vulnerable veterans. However, without income and housing stability many of those veterans are unable to regularly attend appointments and their health deteriorates. Access to an attorney to appeal wrongful denials of benefits is a critical step toward positive health outcomes and stable housing for veterans.

Fellowship Highlights

During the two-year Fellowship period, Abbey:

  • Developed a medical-legal partnership with the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center and the Center of Excellence
  • Won over $700,000 in retroactive benefits for her clients and secured about $480,000 total in monthly benefits
  • Maintained a caseload of about 60 veteran clients, referred to her by healthcare providers at the Center of Excellence
  • Trained 250 medical providers, first year medical residents, and pro bono attorneys
  • Collaborated with 4 partner organizations including the Bob Woodruff Foundation, the National Center for Medical Legal Partnerships, the VA Office of General Counsel MLP task force, and the VA Office of General Counsel

Next Steps

Following her Fellowship, Abbey has stayed on as a staff attorney with Inner City Law Center,  where she continues to staff the Medical-Legal Partnership that she created during her time as a Fellow. 

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Amanda Walsh

Host: Legal Council for Health Justice

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Sponsor: Boston Scientific Corporation, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.

Raegan Joern

Host: Rubicon Programs Inc.

Sponsor: Contra Costa County Bar Association

George-Marie Jasmin

Host: The Medical Legal Partnership for Children

Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig, LLP