Erin Sutton

  • Hosted by LAF
  • Sponsored by Discover Financial Services, Mayer Brown LLP
  • Service location Chicago, Illinois
  • Law school Loyola University Chicago School of Law
  • Issue area Medical-Legal Partnership, Veterans' Rights
  • Fellowship class year 2015
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Erin will create a medical-legal partnership with a mental health provider serving veterans to promote better treatment outcomes allowing veterans and families to sustain healthy, stable, civilian lives.

Since 2001, more veterans have died of suicide than of combat-related injuries. As many as 15,200 service members returning to Illinois from Iraq and Afghanistan report symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or severe depression. PTSD often creates instability at work and at home, increases the risk of suicide, and causes other serious health and socio-economic issues. In Illinois, veterans are overrepresented among the homeless: 13% of the homeless population can claim veteran status, even though only 6% of the non-homeless population are veterans. In addition to homelessness, nearly 1 in 5 young veterans in Illinois live below 200% of the poverty line. Many homeless veterans and veterans at risk of becoming homeless cite legal issues as the cause. The US Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) Office of General Counsel has urged that an end to veteran homelessness requires investment in legal care. Despite this need, the VA has no statutory authority to provide or pay for legal services for veterans.

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Sara Huffman

Host: Medical-Legal Partnership for Seniors (MLPS)

Sponsor: Latham & Watkins LLP, PG&E Corporation

Johnathan Silva

Host: Lone Star Legal Aid

Sponsor: Texas Access to Justice Foundation

Devin Bissman

Host: Swords to Plowshares

Sponsor: Bill Brockett Public Interest Fellowship

Photo of Allen Martin

Allen Martin

Host: Texas Legal Services Center

Sponsor: Terry O. Tottenham Veterans Justice Fellowship, Texas Access to Justice Foundation

Current Fellow