Daily Archives: Thursday, May 26, 2016

Attorneys, Military Leaders Hold Training on Helping Veterans Barred from Receiving Benefits

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Since World War II, millions of soldiers have received a “less than honorable discharge” from the United States military.

While it may not be something that many people think about every day, many veterans are ineligible to receive benefits due to their discharge status. Of 22 million military veterans in the country, 380,000 of them currently reside in Massachusetts. Last week, a panel of professionals dedicated to helping these veterans get the help they need held a panel discussion at the BBA.

The training focused on the legal means available to veterans to challenge the status of their discharge. According to Dana Montalto, an attorney at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School who focuses on veterans’ issues, there are many reasons why veterans seek a discharge status upgrade.

For some, “It’s personal,” she said. “Serving your country is honorable.”

In many cases, veterans with a less than honorable discharge are barred from receiving benefits from the VA, and if they are disabled, their families and communities are tasked with filling the gap.

“It’s a national trend that more and more attorneys are beginning to take on these cases,” Montalto said, highlighting the need for more attorneys with the proper training.

The panel also included Scott Thompson, Executive Director of the Board for Correction of Naval Records, Joseph Materson, Senior Legal Advisor to the Army Board for Correction of Military Records, and Evan Seamone, Major and Senior Defense Counsel, U.S. Army Reserve, who is a professor at Mississippi College of Law.

BRA Signs on as Summer Jobs Employer

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Whatever the development project, large or small, if it goes up in Boston, there’s a good chance the Boston Redevelopment Authority was involved in the process at some point. And this summer, local teenagers will have the chance to see that process up-close.

The BRA has signed on to hire a Summer Jobs student through the Boston Bar Association, and we are thrilled to have their support.

Kathleen Joyce, Senior Counsel at the BRA, said the student will take part in hands-on work that is truly relevant to the BRA’s projects.

“At the BRA, we believe it is extremely valuable to play a part in educating our future leaders,” she said. “We are thrilled to join the legal community in their support of Mayor Walsh’s Summer Jobs Initiative by hiring a student through the BBA Summer Jobs Program. We are proud to say that we will give the student in this position opportunities to take on a substantive role in our work, by participating in research projects and attending BRA trainings and other BRA meetings.”

While the staff at the BRA is eager to give the student a chance to build his or her skills and resume, the experience will also be valuable to the agency.

“Hiring a summer jobs student is a great way to bring on extra support for our legal department while providing a place for a student to learn professional skills and become acquainted with the processes that shape their community,” she said.

Want to find out more about the program? Visit our website or contact Cassandra Shavney at cshavney@bostonbar.org.