The National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP) will present a one hour training on discharge upgrades and NVLSP’s limited scope discharge upgrade file review project. This limited scope pro bono opportunity enables volunteers to review and screen the files of veterans who have applied to NVLSP for pro bono assistance with a discharge upgrade. NVLSP’s Lawyers Serving Warriors® discharge upgrade program assists veterans in applying to upgrade their characterization of service, for example from “Other Than Honorable” (OTH) to a more favorable characterization such as “Honorable” or “General (Under Honorable Conditions)”. A discharge upgrade may help veterans receive VA benefits and health care, improve employment opportunities, and restore reputation and self-esteem. Many veterans served through this project have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injuries (TBI), or other mental health conditions that are related to military service. Many veterans served through this program are survivors of Military Sexual Trauma.
NVLSP screens every applicant to its discharge upgrade program before referring the matter to a pro bono partner for full representation. The file review project tasks volunteers with conducting a preliminary screen by reviewing and analyzing the files of clients who have applied for a discharge upgrade so that NVLSP screening attorneys are able to review the files more quickly. This project is primarily administrative in nature and can be completed by attorneys or non-attorneys alike. Pro bono volunteers create a Word table or Excel spreadsheet cataloging the client files and return the file review work product to NVLSP within about one month of acceptance of the matter. The project is remote and can be completed anywhere. Pro bono volunteers will agree to abide by the NVLSP confidentiality agreement. The estimated time commitment is 10-15 hours per project, and volunteers may work in teams.
NVLSP’s DC pro bono week presentation is open to all. However, government attorneys may not accept NVLSP discharge upgrade file review matters and NVLSP discharge upgrade file review pro bono opportunities are limited.
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