William and Mary Law School

For Students

Second-year student Jeff Bozman ('12) spoke about his experience in the clinic during our Veteran's Day program:

{{youtube:medium:center|u71IS_BJfLg, 2L Jeff Bozman speaks about his experiences with the Clinic at the 2010 Veteran's Day event.}}

 

The classroom instruction and student work focuses on filing disability compensation claims with the Department of Veterans Affairs, appealing denials of such claims, and filing requests for increases in approved disability compensation. Students receive training on the steps involved in filing those disability compensation claims, including client interviews, analysis of medical records, requesting and coordinating medical examinations, and preparation of client claims submissions. The Clinic also performs significant outreach throughout the community. The course is a three-credit course requiring weekly case status meetings, thorough and accurate completion of weekly timesheets recording the work performed for each client, weekly updates from students to their supervising attorney on work completed and project work, and analysis and written advocacy on the clients' behalf.

Students can also learn how to collaborate  with other disciplines such as psychology and social on veterans' cases.  They may consult on cases with their student counterparts at VCU's Center for Psychological Services and Development (CPSD) regarding the client's psychosocial stresses, which may have an impact on their case. Law students can also have the opportunity to educate their VCU counterparts on the various legal aspects of these cases.

Grading

Veterans Benefits Clinic I and II use a letter grade.

Student Experiences

Read what past students have said about their experiences in the clinic:

  • "It has reminded me why I came to law school in the first place.  Being able to connect the law school experience to actual people's problems has been a great encouragement."
  • "The best thing about the course is being able to interact with actual clients on pending claims.  This learning experience is invaluable because it allows students to apply a variety of legal skills in a practical setting.  The skills include: interacting with clients, conducting legal research, advocating before an administrative agency, and interacting with a supervising attorney."
  • "Handling real cases makes the study of law in an abstract academic setting more relevant to me because it reinforces why it is necessary to learn certain skills and knowledge.  Plus, it is rewarding to assist a clietn with reaching a positive result in their claim."
  • "You will not find a better method for learning practical advocacy skills.  You get the opportunity to do real work, with real attorneys, while doing what may be the most morally defensible work in the legal industry."
  • "I found it very rewarding to work with real clients, to build relationships with them, to learn what they thnik is in their best interest, and to be moved by their experiences."
  • "[T]his was one of the most practical, rewarding, and engaging experiences I've had in law school."
  • "This has been the best experience I have had at law school....  All students should be required to enroll in a clinic to gain the skills necessary for client relationshipsl."
  • "The touchstone of a legal education is learning how to take the legal analysis you learn in every other class and apply it to the context of working with a client.  The Veterans Benefits Clinic is the law school experience that has actually taught me to be a lawyer."