Photo of Rachael Derham

Rachael Derham

  • Hosted by Legal Aid Chicago
  • Sponsored by AmeriCorps
  • Service location Chicago, Illinois
  • Law school Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School
  • Issue area Veterans' Rights
  • Fellowship class year 2018
  • Program Veterans Legal Corps

The Project

Rachael’s Fellowship seeks to address a lack of affordable legal services and legal information available to veterans in Chicago. When veterans are unable to gain access to basic legal information and services, it affects not only the veteran, but the veteran’s family and community as well. By addressing this need, Rachael assists veterans living in Chicago with basic necessities and helps them gain access to necessary services and benefits including obtaining or maintaining medical care, public benefits, or VA benefits, and avoiding homelessness.

Rachael will participate in Records Request Workshops and teach pro bono attorneys about requesting records to help veterans gain the evidence necessary to file claims with the VA. She will attend the local Community Resource and Referral Center monthly to conduct intake and advise veterans about legal issues affecting them. She will also attend Road Home Program, a counseling center for Veteran’s at Rush hospital, bi-monthly, to conduct intake and advise veterans on legal issues. Additionally, Rachael will provide assistance to veterans who call LAF’s Veterans Rights Project’s intake hotline.

The Inspiration

“As a society, we expect our veterans to be well taken care of after serving our country. However, veterans are one of the most underserved groups in the legal aid community and the veterans we serve are often those who are at rock bottom. They are homeless, are suffering from mental health or other severe health problems, and they are severely in need of legal services. There is such a strong need for legal services for those living in poverty, and veterans are such a deserving group. It is extremely fulfilling to be able to provide legal services to those who have been so neglected, and to set veterans on the path to a better life after service,” says Rachael.

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Sponsor: AmeriCorps, Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc.

Ryan Ueda

Host: Public Law Center

Sponsor: AmeriCorps, Public Law Center