Tigers for Troops - Veterans' Benefits CLE
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Tigers for Troops - Veterans' Benefits CLE

When: May 3
Where: Pitch Pizza and Pub (Happy hour following seminar, sponsored by Baird, Lightner, Millsap, P.C.)
2924 E Sunshine
Springfield, Missouri  65804
United States
Contact: SMBA

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This CLE is free to SMBA members who agree to assist the clinic with a veteran's benefit case or discharge upgrade for at least one veteran in 2019. For attorneys who are not able to make that commitment or are not SMBA members the registration fee is $100.00.  2MCLE.

The CLE will be followed by a complimentary happy hour sponsored by Baird, Lightner, Millsap, P.C..

For more than 200 years, members of the United States Armed Forces have protected this nation’s soil and its citizens’ freedoms. When their service ends, many become the ones in need.

Research shows veterans face complex barriers attempting to access resources, such as health care and housing. In particular, veterans in rural areas throughout the country have expressed a need for help accessing those resources.

These veterans answered the call when Americans needed them the most. Now it is our turn to serve them. 

In this two credit hour CLE, law students from the Mizzou Law School Veterans Clinic, directed and supervised by attorneys Brent Filbert and Angela Drake, will discuss the following legal issues:

Hour 1 – Veterans Benefits Overview:

After leaving military service, many veterans are entitled to compensation benefits for injuries incurred or aggravated in service. This segment of the program will discuss the elements needed to secure disability benefits and the key VA forms which must be completed. We will discuss the applicable statutes in Title 38 of the United States Code and the related regulations.  Special emphasis will be provided on the most expedient manner in which to make a proper record early in the process, so that the veteran can avoid the long delay currently existing in the VA disability appeals system. This hour will be devoted to orientating attorneys to this area of the law generally, encouraging future accreditation by the VA.

Hour 2 – Discharge Upgrades:

Every service member receives a characterization of service at the time they are discharged from active duty.  This “character of discharge” designation is very important for military and VA benefits and for future employment. Unfavorable discharges are often stigmatizing. This hour will explain the system for discharge upgrades including the proper application forms to use with Discharge Review Boards and the Boards of Correction for Military Records. We will discuss the proper way in which to write the most effective discharge upgrade package.

About Angela Drake:

Angela K. Drake is the Director and Supervising Attorney of The Veterans Clinic at the University of Missouri School of Law.  She also teaches Trial Practice and Pretrial Litigation. She received her undergraduate degree from the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1982 and her law degree from the University of Minnesota School of Law in 1985.

After practicing complex and class action litigation, as well as insurance coverage and defense for more than 25 years, Angela followed her passion for public service by serving as The Veterans Clinic’s first Supervising Attorney. As an Army Brat herself, Angela takes special joy in working with students to serve veterans and their family members seeking benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. In addition, and in her individual capacity as Director of the Clinic, Angela enjoys participating in amicus curiae briefing in cases that impact veterans. The Clinic also hosts an annual symposium on Veterans Day, addressing timely issues such as Post Traumatic Stress, Military Sexual Trauma and Traumatic Brain Injury.

Prior to her clinical work at the law school, Angela practiced law as a a shareholder in the firm of Niewald, Waldeck and Brown in Kansas City and as a member of Lowther Johnson , LLC in Springfield, Missouri.

About Brent Filbert:

Brent Filbert is an instructor and supervising attorney at The Veterans Clinic at the University of Missouri School of Law.  He has spent the last 30 years serving as an attorney in the military and in private practice. He served as Appellate Defense Counsel and Judge for the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals.  He served as a prosecutor and defense counsel in military criminal trials and as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney.  Prof. Filbert also practiced as litigation counsel for Hughes, Hubbard & Reed, and was a Partner at Shook, Hardy & Bacon as a litigation attorney on product liability and toxic tort cases.

He is an undergrad alum of Mizzou (with honors), and received his JD (with distinction) at UMKC.  He is also a distinguished graduate of the Naval War College – College of Naval Command and Staff, and has an LL.M. in Trial Advocacy from Temple University School of Law.  Prof. Filbert joined the Veterans Clinic because of his desire to train law students on how to successfully represent clients by assisting veterans on their important legal issues.