Photo of Samantha Kubek

Samantha Kubek

  • Hosted by New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG)
  • Sponsored by Greenberg Traurig, LLP, Greystone & Co., Inc.
  • Service location New York, New York
  • Law school New York University School of Law
  • Issue area Veterans' Rights
  • Fellowship class year 2016
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship
  • Current location New York

The Project

Samantha’s project established the first legal clinics in the country to exclusively serve women veterans, providing a safe space for them to obtain trauma-informed legal assistance within VA medical centers in Manhattan and the Bronx.

Women veterans face a unique set of legal issues. The U.S. Department of Defense estimates that in 2018, about 13,000 women were sexually assaulted or raped while serving in our military. Women veterans are more than twice as likely to become homeless as women who did not serve in the military, and rates of suicide are also on the rise, and 20% of women veterans who served in Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, and New Dawn suffer from PTSD. Many of these veterans are not comfortable seeking help at male-dominated VA health centers, and finding a safe space in which to meet their needs can be difficult. This Project provided legal services to women veterans regarding a wide array of legal issues, including obtaining veterans benefits, discharge upgrades, family law, social security, and advance directives.

Fellowship Highlights

Drawing upon previous experience addressing women’s rights and family law issues, Samantha established the nation’s first legal clinics for female veterans at the Bronx and Manhattan VA hospitals, allowing clients to receive holistic, trauma-informed assistance. During her Fellowship, she conducted over 10 trainings for veterans and healthcare providers on veterans’ benefits, discharge upgrades, family law, LGBTQ rights, and PTSD. She also published the 3rd Edition of “The New York City Veteran’s Legal Guide,” a legal manual that encompasses multiple civil legal areas including VA benefits, family law, housing law, debt management, public benefits issues, and employment law. Over the course of her Fellowship, Samantha served over 200 clients on over 320 legal matters, obtaining over $700,000 for her clients.

Next Steps

In August 2021, Samantha joined the faculty of the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University as a Visiting Assistant Clinical Professor of Law and the Attorney-in-Charge of the Robert W. Entenmann Veterans Law Clinic. The Clinic assists veterans in obtaining veterans benefits and discharge upgrades.

Prior to starting at Hofstra, Samantha had remained at NYLAG following her fellowship, becoming the Coordinating Attorney for the Veterans Initiative in the LegalHealth Division. In February 2020, Samantha testified before United States House of Representatives Veterans Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations regarding the VA’s failed response to military sexual trauma survivors. In March 2021, she testified before the Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs regarding Compensation & Pension examinations, with particular focus on examinations in cases involving military sexual trauma.

Media

Good in Practice | Episode 20: “‘A Different Type of Trauma’: Legal Service for Women Veterans”

Good in Practice | Episode 19: "Obtaining Benefits for Veterans who are Survivors of Sexual Assault During Service"

What It’s Like Working With Female Veterans as a Lawyer With Samantha Kubek, New York Legal Assistance Group

Over 70,000 military sexual assaults took place last year -- Congress must take action

Legal Help for Female Veterans

Joint Oversight Hearing: Examing How VA Supports Survivors of MST

Sometimes Legal Aid Isn't Enough: A Case for MLPs

Meet Other Fellows Like Samantha

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