I received notice on August 31, 2015, of my formal admission to practice before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC). Being a member of the CAVC bar will enable me to help Veterans obtain judicial review of erroneous VA decisions.
Notably, before the CAVC was created in 1988, veterans had no court of law in which to appeal the Government’s decisions on veterans benefits. Veterans had no right to judicial review until passage of the Veterans Judicial Review Act in 1988.
While spreading the word that I now am representing Veterans, I’ve been asked multiple times about what drew me to the work. It was a long path yet is simply explained.
I am a veteran; I served with great people and had many formative experiences in the Army. After deploying for the first Gulf War, I was fortunate enough to return whole and to obtain an education using the G.I. Bill. I spent the next twelve years practicing law and acquiring the skills to advocate effectively for my clients. And then, in 2014, I realized that I could put my legal skills to work on behalf of my fellow Veterans. After that insight, my path forward was clear.
Less than 1% of our Nation’s population serves in the armed forces. And currently, twenty-two veterans commit suicide each day. Any observer of recent events is aware that our Nation is not fulfilling its duty to provide for those who served. I have personally represented veterans who fought for years to establish entitlement to Social Security benefits due to disabling service-related impairments caused by Agent Orange, PTSD, TBI, Gulf War Syndrome, psychiatric disorders, or traumatic physical injuries. I was outraged by the experiences my clients reported having while seeking VA benefits. Something needed to be done.
Fortunately, I have found a way to harness my angst and to apply it for the benefit of the soldiers, sailors, and airmen who voluntarily serve with dedication and vigilance.