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Rising 2Ls Spend Summer Addressing Veterans’ Legal Challenges

Yosef Palanker and Jordan Williams, Class of 2021

August 12, 2019

Two members of the Class of 2021 spent the summer helping veterans in Boston and Philadelphia address legal issues.

Yosef Palanker spent 10 weeks working in the Veterans’ Justice Project, a clinic operated by Harvard Law School’s Legal Services Center. There, Palanker wrote memos and briefs on behalf of veterans seeking disability benefits or to upgrade their discharge status.

“It was a really great experience—an eye-opening experience,” Palanker said. “I am hoping to write a law review note on military sexual trauma. This is definitely an area of law that I am excited to explore.”

“Better legal representation in the JAG corps could lead to fewer veterans now seeking benefits that they rightfully deserve,” he said. “Once you’re discharged other than honorably discharged, you’re out of receiving any VA benefits whatsoever.”

Jordan Williams spent the summer as an Equal Justice Works fellow working with the Military Assistance Project in Philadelphia.

In that role, Williams accompanied attorneys to Philadelphia’s Veterans Court, where they would offer to represent veterans caught up in the criminal justice system in civil matters.

In most cases, Williams noted, the veterans faced post-traumatic stress disorder or other psychiatric issues.

Williams wrote briefs on behalf of 10 veterans helping to document their eligibility for benefits or to have their discharges upgraded and she helped 20 others to address issues involving bankruptcy.

“I loved every second of it,” said Williams, who plans to pursue a career as a bankruptcy attorney.