Serving Those Who Serve Their Country |
Gilroy is currently assisting a Vietnam veteran believed to suer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but whose initial benefits claim did not include a diagnosis for the condition. Without the formal diag- nosis, the client’s claim that his PTSD was related to his military service was rejected by the VA. Gilroy is working with the veteran to reopen his case and refile the claim so it more accurately reflects his PTSD diagnosis.
Other Shearman & Sterling attorneys working with the New York City Bar on veterans’ issues include part- ners Brian Polovoy, Michael Schiavone, James Scott, Sr., Maura O’Sullivan, and Jaculin Aaron, and associates Christopher Rosado, Curtis Scribner, Curt Goldman, Seth Burch, Fabiana Sakai, Jordan Costa, Horace Wu, Fraser Hartley, and Damien Grierson.
project salute Like Gilroy, Hemler also feels a personal connection to veterans’ cases. “Serving those who have served our country is the greatest way I can think of to use my law license,” says Hemler, whose uncle served in Vietnam.
Hemler, along with partner W. Jeffrey Lawrence, helped bring Project SALUTE to Shearman & Sterling. Project SALUTE (Students and Lawyers Assisting US Troops Everywhere) is a pro bono eort coordinated by the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law (UDM Law), designed to provide legal assistance to low-income veterans. Earlier this year, about 15 Shearman & Sterling attorneys and summer associates attended a training session conducted by the university.
Along with associate Eva Rasmussen, Hemler is cur- rently working to help the mother of a Vietnam veteran appeal the denial of a claim submitted for benefits related to the veteran’s skin cancer, which may be related to exposure to the chemical Agent Orange.
Appeals like these are particularly challenging, Hemler explains, because “once a case goes past the Board of Veterans Appeals, you’re not allowed to submit new evidence to support a claim,” such as new reports on the eects of chemical exposure. Trained legal experts are needed to review denied claims and find new ways to approach earlier submissions.
Supervised by Lawrence, other Shearman & Sterling associates who have worked on Project SALUTE cases include Molly Stark, Rodrick Shepard, and Gaurav Sud, and summer associates Danielle Asaad, Colin Keefe, and John Anzelc.
Peggy Costello, a visiting clinical professor at UDM Law who helps administer the program, says Project
SALUTE has helped hundreds of veterans around the country. She notes that demand remains strong for qualified attorneys to assist this population.
veterans consortium pro Bono program Shearman & Sterling also represented the family of a deceased Vietnam veteran in a case referred to the firm by the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program. The Consortium was established in 1992, when the US Congress recognized that over two-thirds of appellants before the US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims were unrepresented by counsel and created this feder- ally funded program to train and provide assistance to pro bono counsel for these appellants.
serving those who serve our country is the greAtest wAy i cAn thinK of to use My lAw license.
The veteran in this case had been diagnosed with schizophrenia while on active duty in the Army and was immediately discharged on that basis. Between 1973 and his death in 2002, the veteran was denied com- pensation by the VA on the grounds that the condition had pre-existed, and was not aggravated by, his service, although schizophrenia was not noted in his medical examination at the time of his induction.
In 2006, Shearman & Sterling began assisting the veteran’s mother with an appeal for accrued benefits. The team successfully argued that the VA failed to provide an adequate statement of reasons to support its denial. In August 2008, the Court vacated the Board of Veterans Appeals decision and remanded the case for reconsideration.
Capital Markets associates Jordan Costa and Damien Grierson and partner Michael Schiavone represented the veteran’s mother. “I was attracted to the Consortium by the possibility of assisting Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who were underserved and needed help,” says Costa. “It was surprising to learn how many veterans from earlier conflicts continue to deal with legal issues.”
national veterans legal services program Another benefits appeal concerning a Vietnam veteran came to Shearman & Sterling through the independent nonprofit National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP), which helps veterans obtain benefits.