Veterans Law CLE

  • Veterans/Military
  • Training/Conferences
  • Legal Skills
  • Legal Services
  • Pro Bono


On March 20-21, the University of Montana, Blewett School of Law, is offering a program of education on legal issues for veterans that will provide both foundational and advanced instruction on topics important for all service providers assisting veterans with legal issues.  

  • Wednesday, March 20th is devoted to VA practice, and it will include a rare opportunity for veterans and service providers in the West to view a session of the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims in person, followed by a question and answer period with the CAVC judges.  Presentations and panels on Wednesday afternoon will cover all required topics for accreditation to practice before the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as information particular to tribal services for veterans.  Presentations include: (1) Service-Connected Benefits: Claims, Legacy Appeals, and the New Appellate Process; (2) Blue Water Navy & Military Toxic Exposure; (3) Panel Discussion with CAVC Judges; (4) Tribal Veterans Services and Veterans Advocacy as Community Economic Development.
  • Thursday, March 21st will be a full day of CLEs and panel discussions all devoted to military discharge upgrade practice and advocacy for veterans with less-than-fully-honorable discharges.  Presentations include: (1) Intro to Discharge Upgrades with Some Intermediate Discharge Practice; (2) Intro to Forensic Evaluation for Discharge Upgrades; (3) Creating a Sustainable Volunteer or Student Discharge Upgrade Program: Innovations, Frustrations, and Achievements; (4) Other Frontiers of State and Federal Advocacy: Litigation, Legislative Advocacy, Rulemaking; and (5) A Short Course on VA Character of Discharge Determinations.

The program is designed to provide education and networking opportunities to all veterans service providers, including attorneys, veterans service officers, tribal veterans representatives, and counselors and other mental health providers.  In addition to the CAVC judges, the slate of presenters includes (alphabetically):

  • Madelon Baranoski, PhD Yale University, Professor of Psychiatry (participation via remote feed)
  • Maura J. Clancy, Chisholm, Chisholm & Kilpatrick, focusing on VA benefits and appeals
  • Robert Cuthbert, formerly of Military Discharge Upgrade Clinic at the Veteran Advocacy Project of the Urban Justice Center
  • Alan Goldsmith, Chair Veterans and Military Law Section Federal Bar Association, Former Section Head, BCNR
  • Steve Lessard, President-elect New York County Lawyers Association/Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe
  • Dana Montalto, Harvard Veterans Law and Disability Benefits Clinic
  • Justine Pelham, Veterans Law Pro Bono Project, Legal Services of Northern Virginia
  • Carol Scott, Bergmann & Moore, focusing on tribal veterans services
  • Commander John B. Wells, USN (Ret), Executive Director Military-Veterans Advocacy & counsel for Claimant-Appellant in Procopio v. Wilkie
  • Dr. Howard Zonana, MD Yale University, Professor of Psychiatry and Adjunct Professor of Law (participation via remote feed

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