Chesley Roberts

  • Hosted by The Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program
  • Sponsored by Lockheed Martin Corporation
  • Service location Washington, District of Columbia
  • Law school Stetson University College of Law
  • Issue area Veterans' Rights
  • Fellowship class year 2020
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Through The Veterans Consortium, Chesley developed a pro bono legal clinic for female veterans at the DC VA Medical Center hosted in the Women’s Health Clinic. Chesley also assisted female veterans with their claims for VA Disability Compensation for conditions related to military sexual trauma.

There are currently over two million female veterans of the United States military, accounting for 10 percent of the veteran population. About one in four women report experiencing sexual assault or harassment while in service. Compounding the problems faced by women during service is the fact that upon separation, women veterans are less likely to self-identify as veterans. This can result in women failing to seek out benefits and not engaging in veterans’ groups that offer much-needed support and resources. Through the legal clinic, Chesley created a space where women veterans are more likely to engage and seek out resources.

Chesley’s work with veterans during her time in law school showed her the need to create services tailored for female veterans and motivated her to continue to help those who have served.

Fellowship Highlights

During the two-year Fellowship, Chesley:

  • Held over 50 Legal Advice and Referral Clinics specifically for women veterans
  • Assisted over 350 women veterans by providing guidance and information
  • Directly represented over 30 women veterans in their claims for VA disability compensation and applications for discharge upgrades
  • Secured over $150,000 in retroactive VA disability benefits
  • Conducted more than 15 educational presentations, reaching over 550 attendees
  • Developed a handbook to guide veterans through the process of filing a claim for VA disability compensation
  • Created educational materials explaining the appeals process and addressing the most common legal issues women veterans face

Next Steps

Chesley will continue to serve as the program manager for the Women Veterans Legal Assistance Program at The Veterans Consortium. She will grow the program to assist more women veterans with their claims for VA disability compensation. She will also continue to host the Women Veterans Legal Advice and Referral Clinic to provide women veterans with much needed legal information.


The Veterans Consortium Announces Our 2020 Equal Justice Works Fellows

Burn Pit Exposure: Acknowledging The Gap

Women's History Month Fireside Chat

Growing up in a military family allowed me to see the sacrifices veterans had to make. I’m passionate about making sure our veterans receive the help they deserve due to the sacrifices they made.

Chesley Roberts /
2020 Equal Justice Works Fellow

Meet Other Fellows Like Chesley

View All

Photo of Kristen Cappelli

Kristen Cappelli

Host: Veterans Legal Services

Sponsor: Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Photo of Shelby Smith

Shelby Smith

Host: Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI)

Sponsor: Deere & Company, Lane & Waterman LLP, Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila LLP

Photo of Christian Piatt

Christian Piatt

Host: Homeless Persons Representation Project, Inc.

Sponsor: Covington & Burling LLP, Northrop Grumman Corporation

Photo of Brady Granger

Brady Granger

Host: Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas

Sponsor: Texas Access to Justice Foundation