Emory Law News Center

A Veterans Day message
By Emory University School of Law | Emory Law | November 11, 2019

Veterans Day:
November 11

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Today is Veterans Day, a formal recognition of the commitment and valor that safeguards the rule of law and protects us all. This day acknowledges the sacrifice required of our military personnel and their families.

In 1946, following World War II, an influx of veterans allowed Emory to reinstitute a full-time day law program. In return, the law school (and the GI Bill) provided veterans the means to build a successful legal career and reenter civilian life. We continue to welcome veterans to our community through the annual award of a WWII Veterans Scholarship, and we offer tuition assistance for veterans and their dependents through Emory Law’s participation in the by way of the Veterans Administration’s Yellow Ribbon Program.

Many generous volunteers and donors allow Emory Law to provide hands-on pro bono assistance to veterans via our make sure veterans receive the benefits of their service. Since the VCV’s founding in 2013 by Professor of Law Emeritus Charlie Shanor and two Emory Law 2Ls, Martin Bunt 14L and Rachel Erdman 14L, more than 130 student volunteers and 100 attorney volunteers have handled more than 200 cases. The clinic has recovered more than $600,000 in annual disability benefits for veterans each year, such as:

  • Winning a $101,014 ruling for a purple heart Korean War veteran who had been denied PTSD disability benefits by the Veterans Administration.
  • Securing a $50,000 debt waiver in its entirety for a Gold Star Mother whose son was killed in Iraq in 2003. 
  • Vacating the conviction of a veteran who was discharged for a civilian conviction in South Carolina. Thanks to the work of the VCV, not only was he pardoned, but the investigating detective wrote a letter addressing to the rampant racism at issue in the trial.

More than 10 students volunteer weekly with the VCV, working on cases and handling intake in their free time. For the past year, the VCV has partnered with Duane Morris, LLC and the Home Depot Law Department to serve veterans through “Wills on Wheels” clinics at the local Atlanta VA Medical Center, preparing more than 70 wills. The work of the VCV is now directed by Drew Early, an adjunct professor who teaches a Veterans’ Benefits Law Class; he is one of the most experienced veterans’ law practitioners in GA. This fall, the VCV welcomed Equal Justice Works fellow Kier Prince 18L, whose role is to provide representation to veterans seeking discharge upgrades. The VCV has recently been awarded a grant from a local foundation to allow the clinic to hire a part-time paralegal to focus on wills and estate planning for veterans and will soon extend an offer to hire a full-time staff attorney.

Today, we join the nation in saluting our students, faculty, staff, and alumni who have served in the military. We also honor them every day by supporting the work of Emory’s VCV as a year-round demonstration of our continued commitment to veterans when they return home. 

I hope you will join me in thanking those who help uphold the principles of liberty and freedom for which so many have worked so hard and given so much.

Best regards,

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Mary Anne Bobinski 
Dean