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Albany Law School announced today that it is receiving a three-year grant from the New York State Division of Veterans' Affairs to enhance its pro bono services to veterans and service members.
The grant will provide up to $50,000 annually over three years to address the unmet legal needs of veterans, service members, and their families through the work of law students and volunteer attorneys. It will support the efforts of the student-led Veterans' Rights Pro Bono Project and the
Albany Law School Pro Bono Program—the presenting organizations of
Veterans Law Day, an annual community education and free legal services event next scheduled for Saturday, November 10—as well as community partner organizations, such as The Legal Project, which coordinates a monthly legal clinic at the Albany Stratton VA Medical Center, and Mediation Matters, which mediates disputes involving veterans, service members, and their families.
Additionally, the grant is funding Albany Law School's new Veterans Rights Summer Fellowship. In the Fellowship program, a student works at least 10 weeks in an otherwise unpaid position building skills to secure and advance the legal rights of veterans. The inaugural Veterans Rights Summer Fellowship was
awarded to Douglas Berinstein, Class of 2020, who received a $6,000 fellowship award while at Albany Stratton VA Medical Center in the general counsel's office of the North Atlantic District of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
"Albany Law School has a long, proud history of service to the community," said President and Dean Alicia Ouellette. "Our students have led the way in making this a welcoming campus for veterans in need of legal help. This grant will go a long way in advancing that purpose."
Albany Law School held its first Veterans Law Day in 2012. It was organized by Benjamin Pomerance ’13, now Deputy Director for Program Development for the New York State Division of Veterans' Affairs, who also founded the Law School's Veterans' Rights Pro Bono Project. Since then, Albany Law School students—in collaboration with community partners and volunteer attorneys—have assisted hundreds of veterans on a wide variety of legal matters.
"I am excited to witness Albany Law School's continued leadership in assisting veterans with their previously unmet legal needs," Pomerance said. "The work of the students, faculty, and community partners has left an indelible positive impact upon the lives of many veterans and their family members, and will continue to leave a similarly vital impact upon the lives of many veterans and their families in the years to come."
"Through participation in the Pro Bono Program, and the curricular offerings of the Law Clinic and Justice Center, our students develop a career-long connection to pro bono, an understanding of its importance, and a professional obligation to give back," said Professor Edward W. De Barbieri, director of Albany Law School's Pro Bono Program. "With these additional funds we will be able to expand our innovative work for veterans, service members, and their families."
Albany Law School's Pro Bono Program
is part of the
Law Clinic and Justice Center, which provides free legal services to eligible residents and businesses in the Capital Region. The Clinic's mission is to provide high quality legal representation and to teach students to be skilled professionals who practice law with compassion and sensitivity. Visit