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Veterans Legal Services Clinic

Michael Wishnie
Margaret Middleton
Bethany Y. Li

There are approximately 250,000 veterans currently residing in Connecticut, many with acute and unique legal needs related to their military service or return to civilian life. In this clinic, established in 2010, students have represented Connecticut veterans in litigation before administrative agencies and courts, on benefits, discharge upgrade, immigration, and pardon matters. In addition, students represent local and national organizations in non-litigation matters relating to the legal needs of veterans, including regulatory and legislative reform efforts, media advocacy, strategic planning, and other matters.

Clinic students also provide advice and conduct some intake at the New Haven Vet Center, which offers a range of counseling and other services particularly to combat veterans. The clinic makes special efforts to assist vulnerable veteran populations and those least connected to existing service networks, such as women, recently returned, non-citizen, LGBT, and elderly veterans. The seminar portion is a practice-oriented examination of advocacy on behalf of veterans and of social justice lawyering generally.

September 22, 2015

Veterans Legal Services Clinic to Receive Organization Award from Hispanic-American Veterans of Connecticut

The Veterans Legal Services Clinic of Yale Law School will receive the 2015 Organization Award from the Hispanic-American Veterans of Connecticut. 
June 22, 2015

Vets Clinic Wins Case over Bad Discharges for Vietnam Veterans with PTSD

Vietnam combat veterans who brought a class action lawsuit in federal court have won: the Pentagon has agreed to upgrade each man’s “other-than-honorable” discharge status. 
May 12, 2015

Stop Assaults on Military Campuses—A Commentary by Ashley Anderson ’16 and Elizabeth Deutsch ’16

Ashley Anderson ’16 and Elizabeth Deutsch ’16 are interns with the Veterans Legal Services Clinic. 
May 4, 2015

Clinic Files Lawsuit for Records About Discharge of Veterans with PTSD

Vietnam Veterans of America and the National Veterans Council for Legal Redress filed suit against the Department of Defense and the Departments of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to compel the release of records regarding their discharge of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 
April 27, 2015

Veterans Clinic, SWAN Deliver Proposed Executive Order Demanding Sex Discrimination Protections at Military Academies

The Veterans Legal Services Clinic at Yale Law School representing the Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) delivered a proposed executive order to the White House to demand that the President establish protections against gender discrimination for cadets and midshipmen at West Point, the U.S. Naval Academy, and the U.S. Air Force Academy.  
April 6, 2015

Veterans Clinic Files Nation-Wide Class Action, Challenging Delays in VA Benefits Processing

The Veterans Legal Services Clinic at Yale Law School filed a lawsuit Monday on behalf of a Marine Corps veteran and thousands of other veterans seeking to compel the Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs to decide initial disability compensation appeals that have been pending more than one year. 
February 4, 2015

Veterans Clinic Files Suit Against DoD for Failing to Release Records

The Veterans Legal Services Clinic at Yale Law School filed a lawsuit on February 3, 2015, with the Service Women’s Action Network, American Civil Liberties Union, and ACLU of Connecticut against the U.S. Department of Defense for violating the Freedom of Information Act.
January 27, 2015

Yale Law School Veterans Clinic Advocates for Marginalized Veteran Populations—A Commentary by Michael Wishnie ’93

Michael J. Wishnie ’93 is the Deputy Dean for Experiential Education and the William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law at Yale Law School. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or downloaded or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association. 
October 2, 2014

YLS Veterans Clinic Wins Major Victory in Adjustment Disorder, Denial of Benefits Case

The Yale Law School Veterans Legal Services Clinic won a major victory in the case of a U.S. Veteran wrongly diagnosed with an adjustment disorder and denied benefits.
July 29, 2014

Veterans Legal Services Clinic Files Lawsuit Seeking to End Discrimination Against Military Sex Assault Survivors

 Yale Law School's Veterans Legal Services Clinic files suit against the Department of Veterans Affairs in order to obtain judicial review of the VA's refusal to revise rules that discriminate against survivors of military sexual trauma.
June 9, 2014

Connecticut Enacts Landmark Veterans Employment Law

Yale Law School’s Veterans Legal Services Clinic drafted and advocated for H.B. 5299 on behalf of the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center. 
June 4, 2014

Deported U.S. Veteran Seeks Return to Home and Family

Arnold Giammarco, a U.S. Army veteran deported to Italy nearly two years ago, continues his legal battle to reunite with his wife, five-year-old daughter, and elderly parents in Connecticut. With representation from the Veterans Legal Services Clinic (VLSC) and the Worker & Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic (WIRAC) at Yale Law School, Giammarco has submitted a pardon application to the Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles (BOPP) and an application for humanitarian parole to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
April 30, 2014

YLS Clinic Represents Veterans Organizations in Discrimination Suit Against VA

The Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) and Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) jointly filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on Wednesday, April 30, 2014, for ignoring a petition on behalf of the thousands of veterans suffering from PTSD related to Military Sexual Trauma (MST) caused by military rape, harassment and/or assault.
March 3, 2014

YLS Clinic Files Nationwide Class Action Lawsuit on Behalf of Vietnam Veterans with PTSD

The Veterans Legal Services Clinic at Yale Law School has filed a nationwide class action lawsuit on behalf of Vietnam Veterans who developed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during their military service and received an other than honorable discharge.
February 7, 2014

Veterans Legal Services Clinic Assists Purple Heart Recipient Seeking Discharge Upgrade

Earlier this week, a federal judge denied the Army’s effort to have the case of William Dolphin, a disabled Vietnam combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient, thrown out of court. 
January 23, 2014

YLS Clinical Students Featured in Daily Show Segment on Veterans and PTSD

YLS Clinical students are featured on a segment of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart discussing a lawsuit involving Vietnam veterans with PTSD seeking benefits from the VA.
December 30, 2013

New Study Analyzes Military Job Training of Connecticut Veterans

A new report co-authored by the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center and the Yale Law School Veterans Legal Services Clinic is believed to be the first in the nation to examine data vital to state veteran employment initiatives. 
November 21, 2013

Veterans Clinic Client Sues Army Over False “Adjustment Disorder” Diagnosis, Denial of Retirement Benefits

In what is believed to be a first-of-its-kind lawsuit, U.S. Army National Guard veteran William Cowles is challenging the illegal denial of his application for medical retirement and asserts that the Army hastily discharged him based on an erroneous diagnosis of adjustment disorder when he should have been medically retired for post-traumatic stress disorder. 
November 12, 2013

Veterans Legal Services Clinic Files Federal Lawsuit on Behalf of Deported U.S. Veteran

Students from the Veterans Legal Services Clinic at Yale Law School filed a lawsuit on behalf of a recently deported U.S. Army veteran battling to return home to his family.

November 7, 2013

Report Prepared by Law School Veterans Clinic Finds VA Discriminates Against Military Sexual Assault Survivors

Report finds that VA Offices Vary Widely in Treatment of Veterans Disability Claims, Male Survivors Face Additional Hurdles. 
November 4, 2013

Veterans Clinic Settles Federal Lawsuit on Behalf of Vietnam Veteran

Disabled Vietnam Veteran and Bronze Star recipient represented by YLS Veterans Clinic wins recognition of Honorable Service
August 16, 2013

Veterans Legal Services Clinic, Sen. Richard Blumenthal ’73 call on VA to Grant Equal Rights to Same-Sex Veteran Couples

Students from the Veterans Legal Services Clinic and Senator Richard Blumenthal '73 hold a press conference to call on Veterans Affairs to grant equal rights to same-sex veterans couples.
July 3, 2013

Yale Law School Clinic Represents Veterans in Petition to VA

Yale Law School's Veterans Legal Services Clinic has petitioned the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to create new regulations governing the adjudication of disability claims for veterans who were raped or sexually assaulted in the military.
December 3, 2012

Veterans Clinic Files Class Action Lawsuit on Behalf of Vietnam Vets with PTSD Denied Honorable Discharges

The Veterans Legal Services Clinic at Yale Law School has filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court on behalf of Vietnam veterans who were denied honorable discharges due to undiagnosed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
November 12, 2012

Bill Written by Veterans Clinic Students Among Those Signed by CT Gov. Malloy in Veterans Day Ceremony at Yale Law School - VIDEO

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy held a ceremonial bill signing at Yale Law School on Veterans Day Monday, Nov. 12, signing among several veterans’ bills one in which Yale Law School students played a major role.
September 13, 2012

U. S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims to Hear Oral Argument at Yale Law School Oct. 2

The U. S. Court of Appeals for Veterans’ Claims will be sitting at Yale Law School on Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012.
May 24, 2012

Fiona Doherty ’99 to Join Law School Faculty in July as Clinical Associate Professor of Law

Fiona Doherty ’99 will join the Yale Law faculty in July 2012 as a Clinical Associate Professor of Law.
May 11, 2012

Connecticut General Assembly Passes Bill Written by Vets Clinic Students; Troubled Connecticut Veterans Will Receive Treatment Instead of Jail Time

A bill to help state veterans charged with low-level criminal offenses avoid incarceration and get back on the right track has been approved by the Connecticut House and Senate, thanks to the efforts of four members of the Veterans Legal Services Clinic.
March 28, 2012

Veterans Clinic Assists Vietnam Veterans of America in Obtaining Records That Reveal Hundreds of Illegal Personality Disorder Discharges

The YLS Veterans Legal Services Clinic represented the Vietnam Veterans of America in federal Freedom of Information litigation to obtain records that reveal the military has executed hundreds of illegal Personality Disorder discharges.
January 10, 2012

Michael Wishnie ’93 Named William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law

Michael Wishnie ’93, a clinical professor of law at Yale Law School and director of the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization, has been named the William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law at Yale Law School.
October 13, 2011

Veterans Clinic Representing Navy Veteran Suing for Benefits, Same-Sex Marriage Recognition

The Veterans Legal Services Clinic at Yale Law School is representing a navy veteran suing for veterans’ benefits she claims were denied because of her same-sex marriage.
October 4, 2010

New YLS Clinic Offers Legal Assistance to Connecticut Veterans

Yale Law School has launched a new clinic to train students to address the needs of Connecticut’s military veterans.