Delivering the 2015 Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Distinguished Lecture at Harvard Law School on Oct. 22, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus ’75 told attendees that “one of my proudest moments as Secretary” was the reinstatement of the Reserve Officers Training Program on the Harvard campus in 2011.
Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow has appointed Clinical Professor Daniel Nagin as Vice Dean for Experiential and Clinical Education. In that role, Nagin will help to further expand the Law School’s extensive offerings in the area of experience-based learning, and he will work to develop new initiatives drawing upon the school’s wide array of clinics, student practice organizations, and other opportunities for learning through hands-on experience.
At the inaugural Disabled American Veterans Distinguished Speaker Series at Harvard Law School, U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald said the troubled agency is making progress in getting its house in order, citing more — and more timely — appointments and authorizations to see private doctors for veterans who live far from VA hospitals.
In just two years, more than 30 HLS students have enrolled in the Veterans’ Legal Clinic—housed at the WilmerHale Legal Services Center (LSC) in Jamaica Plain, of which HLS Clinical Professor Daniel Nagin is faculty director—and represented more than 100 clients in the areas of federal and state veterans’ benefits, discharge upgrades, and estate-planning matters.
The average week for a typical law school student involves poring over a list of daunting cases and deconstructing complicated arguments. But on Oct. 30, the work of three Harvard Law School students included something else: an appearance in federal court. The students, who are part of the School’s Veterans Legal Clinic, stood before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims last Wednesday to argue for the rights of their client, a decorated U.S. Army veteran.
The Board of Veterans’ Appeals of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs denies a soldier’s claim for disability benefits for an injury that occurred while he was on active duty. But the decision is handed down while the soldier is redeployed to Afghanistan, and he doesn’t realize he has the right to appeal until after he returns stateside—after the appeal deadline has passed. For students in HLS’s new Veterans Legal Clinic, the chance to work on this case and others like it is eye-opening.
The Board of Veterans’ Appeals denies a soldier’s claim for disability benefits for an injury to his lower extremities. But the decision is handed down while the soldier is serving in Afghanistan, and he doesn’t realize he has the right to appeal until after he returns from his deployment—after the appeal deadline has passed. For students in Harvard Law School’s new Veterans Legal Clinic, the chance to argue that the appeal deadline should have been tolled and the case allowed to proceed on the merits is proving invaluable educationally and personally.