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.
Many for-profit colleges, which get the overwhelming majority of their revenues from federal financial aid programs, rely on high-pressure tactics and false employment and salary guarantees to lure students into taking out loans. Now, through the efforts of Harvard Law School alum Toby Merrill ’11, some of the victims of these practices can get free legal aid to enforce their rights.
With national attention focused on the obesity epidemic and the diabetes crisis—along with rapidly growing concerns about social justice and environmental problems related to the current food-production system—there may be no hotter topic in law schools right now than food law and policy. The wildly popular new Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic, the first law school clinic of its kind in the world, is right at the center, with students working on a wide range of projects to make healthy food more accessible, help farmers’ markets overcome regulatory barriers so they can sell more of their products, guide states and local communities in creating food policy councils, and more.
Isabel Lima, office manager at the HLS WilmerHale Legal Services Center in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston, received the Suzanne L. Richardson Staff Appreciation Award during Class Day exercises on May 29. She was selected by the Class of 2013 for going above and beyond in assisting the many students who pass through the WilmerHale center, helping the organization to run effectively, as well as acting as a liaison to the many Spanish-speaking clients and neighbors in the community.
In March, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick ’82 nominated Harvard Law School’s Criminal Justice Institute clinical instructor Gloria Tan to a seat on the Massachusetts Juvenile Court. Tan came to CJI, which supervises third-year law students representing indigent criminal defendants in local district and juvenile courts, after serving as a public defender for the Committee for Public Counsel Services in Boston. When a spot opened up on CPCS’s Youth Advocacy Project, Tan switched to working on juvenile cases and has spent her career doing so ever since. Tan was sworn in on May 3rd.
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.