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Veterans Legal Corps for Law Students: Three Things You Need to Know

/ Blog Post

By Selena Hunn, senior program manager, and Brooke Meckler, program manager at Equal Justice Works.

Veterans often face complex and intertwined legal problems, many of which stem from physical and mental injuries sustained during military service. When these legal problems go unresolved, they can multiply over time, creating insurmountable barriers to successful civilian life.

There is no single issue area that lawyers working in the veteran community address to meet the needs of these individuals—lawyers serve the veteran community by preparing, submitting, and winning disability benefit cases; reducing fines and debts; providing legal advice; and resolving other legal problems. The ultimate goals are to end homelessness and remove barriers to employment for veterans by increasing the supply of legal services through the work of Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Members.

Through the Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Veterans Legal Corps, lawyers and law students are engaged as AmeriCorps Members to provide legal services that enable low-income and homeless veterans and their families to stabilize, recover, and rebuild their lives.

Law students throughout the country can still apply to participate in this program for the summer of 2019. Interested in joining this incredible program? Here are three things you need to know!

  1. Students gain experience and develop skills in direct client services and legal representation.
    Law students participating in the Veterans Legal Corps—also known as Student Members—work closely with attorneys on client-focused cases in many different issue areas. These opportunities allow students to conduct client interviews, draft pleadings and legal briefs, conduct legal research and write legal memoranda, attend court hearings, and develop case strategy with attorneys throughout their service. Law students also have a unique opportunity to engage in community outreach and education projects, deliver presentations on veterans’ rights, and build relationships with community partners to help strengthen support for veterans. The skills students learn while participating in the program help prepare them for successful careers as public interest attorneys.
  2. Qualifying projects include work supporting attorneys on civil legal cases for veterans or members of their families, in any issue area.
    Students Members may focus on a number of tough legal issues on behalf of veterans, including affordable housing and evictions, medical legal partnerships, consumer and medical debt, and family law. If you have already secured a position for this summer in one of these issue areas, and your host organization serves veterans, you can apply now! If you have not secured a position for this summer yet, there are host organizations all around the country that perform critical and meaningful work on behalf of veterans, and they are great resources for finding a placement for this summer. The organizations listed here are familiar with the program and are actively seeking candidates for this summer. You must have secured a position with a legal services organization before applying for the Veterans Legal Corps.
  3. You can earn an educational award for your service.
    Student Members receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award of $1,230 upon successful completion of the program. This award can be applied towards student loans, tuition, books, and other fees associated with your education. Participants must complete a minimum of 300 hours to earn this educational award.

Applications for summer 2019 are currently being accepted until May 15, 2019. Before applying, please review the resources available here for more information about program eligibility, funding, host organization criteria, application requirements, and compensation.

Don’t miss the opportunity to provide critical legal assistance to the veteran community through the Veterans Legal Corps this summer!

Learn more about becoming an Equal Justice Works Fellow