(Fall 2023 clinic students pictured from left to right: First row: Katherine Owens, Kendal Ashman and and clinic director Michele Vollmer. Back row: Natasha Steinle, Ryan Millea, Brandan Parks, Nathan Ripley, James Girvin, Jackson Belva)
(Spring 2023 clinic students pictured from left to right: Erik Blasic, Kendal Ashman, Kristiana Stiles, Holly Christensen, Jessica Warwick, Alicia Grana, Akshaya Senthil Kumar, Samantha Tropp, and clinic director Michele Vollmer. Not pictured: Amira Khaled Abdelwahab and Emilee Kula)
The Penn State Law Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic offers students hands-on experience representing veterans and current servicemembers in some of the unique legal issues they encounter. Under the supervision of a clinic director, law students (1) interview clients; (2) conduct medical and legal research; (3) develop legal theories for service-connection and increased ratings; (4) review and summarize medical records, military records, and claim file documents; (5) draft briefs, statements in support and VA submissions; (6) work with treating physicians and medical experts to develop medical evidence; (7) plan appellate strategy; (8) counsel clients; (9) draft amici briefs and conduct oral argument; (10) comment on pending legislation or rule making; and (11) advocate for changes in veterans and military law.
The Clinic focuses its work in two areas:
- Veterans Benefits Appeals: The Clinic provides pro bono (free) counseling services for veterans and Pennsylvania Offices of Veterans Affairs primarily concerning appeals of veterans disability, pension and education benefits claims. Occasionally, the Clinic provides counseling services for the filing of a complex veterans disability or pension benefits claim where extensive medical research and evidence is required to document the claim.
- State and Federal Policy: The Clinic seeks to influence and/or develop state and federal legislation that affects veterans or servicemembers, including, but not limited to: policies addressing military voting issues, creation of Veterans’ Courts, issues arising under the Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act, and regulations to improve the lives of those sexually assaulted during military service.
The Clinic is directed by Professor Michele Vollmer, former senior counsel in the Division of Enforcement at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, where she was responsible for conducting all facets of complex financial fraud and insider trading investigations and litigation, including high profile investigations of Waste Management Corp., and Enron Corp. Professor Vollmer also worked as a senior counsel in the General Counsel's Office of the SEC handling EEOC, appellate, and litigation matters, and as a partner in a law firm handling commercial litigation matters.
For more information about the clinic and all of the courses in Penn State Law’s National Security, Military and Veterans Law Concentration or Specialty Area, please watch this video to hear from both Clinic Director Michele Vollmer and Vice Adm. Houck. To get a student's perspective about his experience in the clinic, please click the video below to hear from PSL Alum Dan Sawey.