Penn State
Lewis Katz Building, University Park, PA
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Student Perspectives

"The most valuable aspect of being able to participate in the Veteran’s Clinic work was being able to see the exact point at which the law can be used to benefit those who have served in the military. I was afforded the opportunity to work on an assignment that would benefit someone directly impacted by their service, and aside from that being a valuable learning experience in legal procedures and research, it allowed me to see that the work this clinic does directly helps people in a positive way. I was grateful for the opportunity to participate, and would highly recommend the clinic to anyone wanting to develop their skills in a way that will benefit veterans and work toward improving their quality of life."

Dan Clarke, Class of 2022
Research Assistant, Spring and Summer 2020

"Although the subject matter may seem to be more on the niche side of practice, the skills that you work on and acquire through participation in Professor Vollmer’s Veterans and Servicemembers Clinic are truly universal. There are three areas where you will be tested: research, collaboration, and communication. In terms of research skills, the clinic prepares you for practice in that there are many times throughout the semester where you may have to become as close to an expert on a certain issue or in a certain field as possible in order to properly serve the needs of your client. I use the word expert because the type of law that we work with is complex and involves medical diagnoses. You have to be prepared to hit a wall, to find other resources to make sense of your research, and then to summarize that research so it is digestible for you, the client, and anyone else you may be working with. Collaboration is an equally important skill that is used a lot while working through clinic assignments. Whether you are the only person working on a particular client’s case, there are case rounds every class meeting where we share our progress and discuss ideas with the whole class about how to move forward. Additionally, there are opportunities for you to work with another student during weeks when their client’s case demands more attention. In those situations, you have to be willing to share your thoughts, priorities, and concerns to ensure that you are both on the same page and not duplicating unnecessary work. Finally, and this relates to the last point, but another key skill developed through Professor Vollmer’s clinic is communication. Professor Vollmer’s role in the clinic is similar to a managing partner in that she reviews all of our work and gives feedback and guidance. Because there are so many cases, you have to be clear and organized about the work that you have completed so that she can best help you move forward with your work. Additionally, the clinic teaches how to be responsible for managing and responding to your emails. In participating in this clinic, you will learn how to quickly assess a question, formulate a response, and respond in a professional manner. Because you could be emailing a wide range of people, from Professor Vollmer and fellow students, to clients and outside lawyers providing guidance, the clinic is a great place to develop a professional communication style that is accessible and facilitates successful collaboration."

Tom DiSalvi, Class of 2021
Fall 2019 Clinic

"The Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic gave me an opportunity to apply skills that I learned my 1L year and put them in context. I was able to help write an appellate brief, conduct client interviews, and develop case management. This clinic also gave me insight on what it means to maintain positive client communication and be a zealous advocate. A lot of the cases that you are assigned are not easy, and they require you to apply your legal research skills outside the legal realm and into the medical field, but I know I will be a better attorney because of my exposure. I have been able to build new research and writing skills and use them to uplift and advocate for those who need it most. It was a big commitment, but I am eternally grateful for the experience."

Agneta Hendershot, Class of 2021
Fall 2019 Clinic

"Being a member of the Penn State Law Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic was a terrific and rewarding experience because of the actual opportunity it gives the students to work with real clients, who actually need help. Joining the clinic is an amazing experience for any law student who is looking to improve their skills of interviewing, research, analysis, and writing. Working closely with veterans and getting to understand their stories is an opportunity that I will take with me throughout my career. Working with Professor Vollmer and the veteran’s clinic was a truly incredible opportunity and I would recommend it to anybody who wants to get real-life experience working with some amazing clients who truly deserve our help."

Chris Raqueno, Class of 2021
Fall 2019 Clinic

"Working in the Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic with Professor Vollmer was a very rewarding and insightful experience. I was given numerous opportunities to develop client interaction skills by observing multiple interviews, conducting a few of my own interviews, and emailing and calling clients throughout the semester. The best part of my clinic experience was working directly with clients and listening to the veterans talk about their military service and their life after service. I was able to build on my client interaction with medical and legal research, memo writing, record requests, and wrap up my semester with an argument that combined all of my work into one product. I would recommend the clinic to students who are looking for an experience that will help them develop skills applicable to practice, while also giving them the opportunity to give back to veterans who have sacrificed so much for us."

Katherine McNally, Class of 2019

“I absolutely loved being a part of the Veterans Clinic at Penn State. It was awesome to know that we were helping people who sacrificed so much to serve our country as members of the armed forces. Additionally,  a lot of the skills you learn in the clinic will translate into almost any practice. We learned how to work with an appellate record, which was very helpful considering the fact that I am now gearing up for my very first appeal. We also learned how to interact with clients, and how to work in a more collaborative setting.  Moreover, Professor Vollmer is an excellent mentor and role model for any law student who dreams of one day being a litigator.  She taught me so much in my time at Penn State, and it was a great privilege to work alongside her at the clinic. She is very passionate about everything she does, and the clinic was no different. I would encourage anyone with a passion for helping other to give the clinic a try.” 

Joseph Oliva, Class of 2018

"The Veterans Clinic was an amazing opportunity to develop legal skills, including legal research and writing, while advocating for those who served our country. It was rewarding to be part of a team that successfully worked for veterans’ rights and to know that our efforts made a difference in the lives of veterans."

Alyssa Gerace, Class of 2017

"The Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic was one of the greatest experiences of my three years at Penn State Law. Professor Vollmer's knowledge and growth within the clinic assisted in my goal of becoming an attorney. I was able to witness firsthand the hard work and commitment it takes to support your clients wholeheartedly. Yes, I was able to get vast experience with research and writing, but the most influential part of the clinic was learning how to connect with clients on a personal level and being able to conduct meetings with clients. Those were invaluable experiences I will carry with me throughout my career and I am very appreciative of Professor Vollmer and her staff for allowing me to have this opportunity."

Adrian I. Rogers, Class of 2018

“Working with Professor Vollmer in the Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic was a phenomenal learning experience. Being able to work that closely with a practitioner and a professor really helped me develop my legal skills and gave me a much better perspective of what the practice of law is actually like. Plus, being able to take what you learn in law school and apply that to a situation where a real person needs your help, and then actually being able to help that person, is incredibly rewarding.”

Brandon McCune, Class of 2018

“My experience with the Veterans Clinic, under the tutelage of Professor Vollmer, was productive, challenging, and rewarding. The clinic gave me the opportunity to draft part of an amicus brief, observe a U.S. Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals sitting in the Katz courtroom, discuss proposed law changes with the Office of Senator Bob Casey in Washington, D.C., to improve service-connected disability coverage, and personally meet Vietnam War veterans. I would highly recommend that other Penn State Law students take advantage of this hands-on work, as clinic members not only benefit from enriched legal understanding, but also serving those who have served us.”

James Paul Hutchison, Class of 2019
Spring 2018 – Veterans Clinic