Photo of Christian Piatt

Christian Piatt

  • Hosted by Homeless Persons Representation Project, Inc.
  • Sponsored by Covington & Burling LLP, Northrop Grumman Corporation
  • Service location Baltimore, Maryland
  • Law school University of Baltimore School of Law
  • Issue area Veterans' Rights
  • Fellowship class year 2018
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Christian eliminated legal barriers to stability and promote integration for justice-involved veterans through direct civil legal representation, outreach, education, and advocacy.

The justice system incarcerates veterans at a significantly higher rate than non-veterans, and the difficulties leading to their criminal conduct often relate to their service. The Justice Involved Veterans Project (JIVP) provides civil legal services to veterans. Today, veterans treatment courts provide treatment for some veterans in lieu of incarceration, but true reintegration requires more than avoiding jail. This project provides civil legal services that eliminate barriers to employment so that veterans leaving treatment programs can return to the community with dignity and honor.

Fellowship Highlights

During the Fellowship period, Christian has:

  • Provided direct representation to 35 veterans seeking assistance with veteran’s benefits claims, discharge upgrades, license restoration, and appealing denials of service in the Veteran’s Health Administration
  • Became the first program to provide civil legal services to the participants in any veteran’s treatment court in Maryland, where more veterans used this project’s services than any other non-VA benefit
  • Advocated for alternatives to incarceration and reemployment programs for justice-involved veterans by engaging judges, bar associations, and community partners through discussions and presentations highlighting the unique positioning of treatment courts to help veterans overcome the difficulties many face when returning from their service
  • Collaborated with The Veterans Consortium to host a discharge upgrade clinic at MCVET, where attorneys from Northrop Grumman and Covington met with veterans about discharge upgrades

Next Steps

Christian will continue to work to improve outcomes for veterans as an Attorney in the Office of the General Counsel at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Additionally, Christian will remain involved at MCVET as a member of the Board where Christian hopes to continue providing brief advice to residents.

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Cherilyn Hansen

Host: Bay Area Legal Services

Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig, LLP, The Florida Bar Foundation

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Samantha Kubek

Host: New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG)

Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig, LLP, Greystone & Co., Inc.

Sara Huffman

Host: Medical-Legal Partnership for Seniors (MLPS)

Sponsor: Latham & Watkins LLP, PG&E Corporation

Sarah Schwartz

Host: Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, Inc.

Sponsor: Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, The Anheuser-Busch Foundation