March 18, 2013
Veterans’ Advocates to Receive Award for Pro Bono Work
The pro bono attorneys affiliated with the Lewis B. Puller Jr. Veterans Benefits Clinic at the William & Mary Law School are this year’s winners of the 2013 Lewis F. Powell Jr. Pro Bono Award for their service to veterans with service connected disabilities and to active duty service members.
The clinic was started five years ago by former Army JAG Professor Stacey-Rae Simcox. It provides pro bono services to veterans and active duty service members who would not otherwise have legal representation. The clinic also partners with psychology professionals to provide both legal services and psychological help where needed.
In his letter recognizing the clinic for its work, Virginia State Bar President W. David Harless noted that the VSB Access to Legal Service Committee members chose the lawyers associated with the clinic not only for their foresight and professionalism in helping to provide legal services to veterans with service connected disabilities but also for their role in training and supervising law students.
The Puller Clinic’s mission states: “We are dedicated to helping our wounded military heroes navigate the legal system to obtain the benefits they earned, and training tomorrow’s attorneys to advocate beyond the legal issues by collaborating with other professionals to meet the full spectrum of a veteran’s needs.”
In her nominating letter, Patricia B. Roberts, clinical associate professor of law and director, Clinical Programs, noted that since 2008, the clinic has represented forty-six clients with 343 separate claims. She said the fair market value of the donated services would exceed $45,000 per case. She also noted that through the Puller Clinic’s efforts, nearly $9 million in future disability payments and other monetary benefits have been secured.
“I can think of no better honoree than the students and staff of the Lewis B. Puller Jr. Veterans Benefits Clinic,” Roberts wrote. “Their tireless dedication to pro bono efforts on behalf of the underserved population of veterans with service-connected disabilities, their creativity in working across disciplines and universities to address veteran needs holistically, and their training of pro bono attorneys and non-attorneys alike in the complex area of veterans’ law make them ideally suited to receive this year’s award.”
The Powell award was established by the Special Committee on Access to Legal Services of the Virginia State Bar to honor attorneys and attorney groups that have made outstanding pro bono contributions. The award will be presented April 15 during the Virginia State Bar Pro Bono Award Ceremony in Richmond.Updated: Mar 18, 2013