Discharge Upgrade/ Veteran Benefit Attorney

Job Type

Full Time

Salary

Details: Salary is based on experience and is commensurate with other public interest law jobs.

Published

06/08/2018

Start Date

07/01/2018

Address

114 Orange Ave.
2nd Fl.
West Haven
CT
06516
United States

Description

We are a scrappy, merry band of advocates who give our all, every day, to help veterans overcome legal obstacles so they can live meaningful and comfortable lives. Connecticut Veterans Legal Center (CVLC) and VA Connecticut’s Errera Community Care Center created the country’s first VA medical-legal partnership to integrate legal help into VA mental health, housing and addiction services. CVLC staff helps veterans resolve their legal issues through advice, representation and referral to a large number of volunteer attorneys. Since 2009, CVLC’s high quality legal services have helped over 2000 veterans rebuild the fulfilling lives they deserve.


CVLC seeks applicants for a position representing veterans in military records corrections or “discharge upgrade” claims and advocating for VA benefits. Each year, the Department of Defense erroneously denies service members an “honorable” discharge, often because of behaviors symptomatic of PTSD. These “bad paper discharges” make veterans ineligible for VA educational, medical, or disability benefits and make it harder for them to get civilian jobs. These veterans, many of whom served in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, are three times more likely to commit suicide than other veterans. This means we fail to care for and educate some of our country’s most wounded warriors when they need it most.


This position requires a range of skills including: representing individual veterans before DoD administrative boards, VA administrative hearings, and APA review of those decisions in federal court; training and assisting volunteer attorneys representing veterans in these venues; locating and retrieving archived client military records; and implementing process improvements to CVLC’s discharge upgrade and VA benefits practice to improve outcomes. This position offers the opportunity for an ambitious attorney to define this burgeoning social justice field by establishing best practices and achievement metrics for legal aid offices adopting discharge upgrade practices. CVLC envisions this attorney presenting progress and outcomes at national conferences and collaborating with partner organizations on projects to reform the statutes and regulations governing discharge upgrades.


Familiarity with Department of Defense administrative law or an eagerness to learn it, admission and good standing to any bar, a willingness to take the CT bar, a valid drivers’ license and access to a vehicle in order to meet with clients across CT, are all required. Additionally, prior knowledge of military personnel policies and procedures, military separation procedures, archival research experience are preferred. The ability to interview veterans about sensitive

issues such as military sexual trauma is also valued, as is the capacity to teach and conduct professional trainings.


The office environment is client-centered, hard-working, creative, democratic, outcome-oriented and collegial. The ideal candidate is open, organized, collaborative, self-directed and comfortable working independently. As physical space is tight and office amenities are sparse, someone with an easy-going, adventurous attitude towards work would be the best fit. This job is for someone who enjoys learning and helping people, seeks meaningful work that involves widely different skills and is interested in taking on considerable responsibility at a young organization with an important mission.


Salary is based on experience and is commensurate with other public interest law jobs. Benefits include generous paid vacation and sick leave and a family friendly workplace. If you loathe the idea of addressing your own envelopes, faxing your own documents or folding chairs after an event, this is not the job for you; we all do windows here. This position is currently funded for one year, with funding for future years likely.


We would love to hear from veterans, people of color, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ individuals. CVLC will make reasonable accommodations for applicants and employees with disabilities.

Benefits

Benefits include generous paid vacation and sick leave and a family friendly workplace. If you loathe the idea of addressing your own envelopes, faxing your own documents or folding chairs after an event, this is not the job for you; we all do windows here. This position is currently funded for one year, with funding for future years likely.

Professional Level

Professional

Minimum Education Required

J.D.

How To Apply

applicants@ctveteranslegal.org
http://www.ctveteranslegal.org

To apply, please submit a cover letter, resume, three references, a legal writing sample and a sample of professional correspondence (a letter or email you have sent in a professional capacity) to the CVLC’s Interim Executive Director Cinthia Johnson at applicants@ctveteranslegal.org. Please do not hesitate to email with questions. The position is open until filled with a start date in July or August. We anticipate that it will be filled quickly, so please send your materials as soon as possible.


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