Military Leadership, Service & Support
VETERANS AND SERVICEMEMBERS LEGAL CLINIC
Penn State Law’s Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic offers law students hands-on experience representing veterans and current servicemembers to win disability, pension, and education benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Many of the clinic clients will receive ongoing benefits for life, and a substantial number were awarded a 100% disability. The Clinic has also worked on policy matters to assist veterans, including drafting four amici briefs, and preparing comments to three different legislative or regulatory law reforms.
"Our clients just want to be heard and obtain a fair review at the VA. When our students take the time to listen, do research, read the veterans’ records in detail and explain the law, our clients are really appreciative and their trust in the VA process increases. We thrive on telling their stories so the VA is compelled to deliver justice to our clients."
-PROFESSOR MICHELE VOLLMER. Associate Dean, Clinics and Experiential Learning, Director, Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic, and Clinical Professor of Law | 814-865-4290 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Web: pennstatelaw.psu.edu/vslc
Clinic students learn to interview and counsel clients, review military and medical records, develop case theory, conduct administrative law and medical research, write administrative and appellate briefs, and conduct settlement negotiations and oral argument in federal court. Students have counseled veterans at events including PSU Military Appreciation Week Tailgates, Centre County Grange Fair and Constitution Day events; pop-up legal clinics at VA hospitals; and Wills for Heroes events. Students counsel veterans on VA claims on the second Monday of every month at Starbucks in a program called Military Mondays.
CLIENT STATS AND COMMENTS
• Clinic clients have been awarded over $4.2 million in Veterans Affairs benefits since July 2015
• The clinic has represented over 75 veterans and has handled over 120 separate matters for those clients
• Clinic students have counseled over 285 veterans at local outreach events, pop-up legal clinics at VA hospitals, and at Military Mondays, held the second Monday of each month at Starbucks in State College
“I am so grateful to Michele Vollmer and the students of the Penn State Law clinic for helping me to resolve my father’s issues and provide him with the honor and dignity he deserves as a WWII Veteran. I personally owe them a heartfelt debt of gratitude and we as a community are lucky to have such dedicated and caring individuals willing to give their time to help our honored veterans.” - KATHY MARUSA (Clinic client)
AN EDUCATION IN MILITARY LEADERSHIP
Penn State Law offers National Security Law, a unique course that simulates a crisis situation and prepares students to navigate the intersection of the law with policy, politics, and the process of governing. Througout the semester, the course integrates leadership training into the curriculum to provide students with hands-on experience and principles that can be utilized in the real world.
“Penn State Law is a top-notch law school for students who are interested in military service. From the classroom to the Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic to the dynamic student body, we have developed the culture and the expertise necessary to support our military members and to train future leaders in the armed forces.” - JAMES W. HOUCK
Vice Admiral, Judge Advocate General’s Corps, U.S. Navy (Ret.), Distinguished Scholar in Residence, Interim Dean, Penn State Law and School of International Affairs
MILITARY LAW CAUCUS
Student organization established in 2016 to support all law students who are former veterans or current members of the U.S. Armed Forces, students who are interested in pursuing legal careers in the military, and students passionate about veterans rights (the MLC).
• Has raised $60,000 to support U.S. military veterans through its annual push-up competition
• Created the Military Summer Law (MSL) Fellowship, resulting in $12,000 to support students pursuing internships in the armed forces or national security sector
• Conducts annual 9/11 memorial service at Penn State Law
“During my first year at Penn State Law, myself and group of student veterans, service members, and supporters of the military realized that there wasn’t a student organization dedicated to the military, so we created the Military Law Caucus (MLC). Our goal was to provide the law school and the student body with an organization that actively supported veterans and the Military. During our first year, we created the Push Ups for Heroes Competition and the Military Summer Law Fellowship. It is extremely humbling to see an organization that myself and others worked so hard for continue to thrive at Penn State Law. My time as President of the MLC showed me that the right attitude, work ethic, and teamwork create lasting impacts.” -CHUCK DEIBEL, CPT, JA | Administrative Law Attorney, Penn State Law J.D. Class of 2020
PATHWAY TO THE JAG CORPS
Over the past 4 years, 18 graduates of Penn State Law in University Park have joined the JAG Corps, the legal arm of each military branch, across these armed forces: 8 Army, 5 Navy, 3 Marines, and 2 Air Force.
“Your experience at law school is shaped by who you learn from and who you interact with, so for me, attending Penn State Law was an easy decision. It was a very rewarding experience and helped prepare me for a career in the Navy JAG Corps.” - HANNAH BENNETT, Penn State Law J.D. Class of 2020, U.S. Navy JAG Corps