Justice for Warriors Newsletter
August 2021
Dear Friends,

I am excited and honored to join the National Veterans Legal Services Program as the new Executive Director. 

I came to NVLSP two years ago as Deputy Executive Director. As a veteran, I was drawn to NVLSP, its mission and its extraordinary legacy of justice for veterans. I enlisted in the U.S. Air Force after high school and subsequently became a cadet in the U.S. Army Reserve Officer Training Corps. I went on to serve as Judge Advocate in the U.S. Army. I led, trained and managed dozens of attorneys and paralegals and advised senior military and civilian personnel on a spectrum of issues including tax, criminal, family, immigration, claims, consumer and international law. I also provided legal support to 20,000 soldiers and civilian Department of Defense personnel in the Republic of Korea. 

Prior to joining NVLSP, I served as general counsel, compliance officer and director of contracts & legal at IMPAQ International. Previously, I also served as interim chief executive officer, vice president of operations and chief financial officer at Berkley Policy Associates after being a civil litigator in private practice. 

During my tenure at NVLSP, I have been very lucky to work closely with Bart Stichman, Co-Founder and former Executive Director who led NVLSP since its inception in 1981. Though he stepped down as Executive Director, Bart will continue as Special Counsel in Litigation. We are delighted to continue to count on his remarkable legal acumen to help us continue to fight for veterans.
I look forward to getting to know our partners, donors and members of the constituency we serve in the months ahead and sharing news about our work with you. Most of all, I appreciate your continued support of NVLSP’s mission to serve veterans. You can click here to read the press release on the announcement.

Paul Wright
Executive Director
It is hard to believe that there is even a need for an organization to ensure that our nation keeps its pledge to take care of those who served our country. Unfortunately, since the Vietnam War, the VA and the military have badly stumbled. Time and again, they have erected barriers that prevent our nation’s disabled veterans and their families from getting what they need and deserve. NVLSP was created to ensure that our nation lives up to its promise to take care of those who suffer injuries resulting from their brave service to our country.

Since November 1981, NVLSP has grown from a single issue project to a national, high-impact veterans service organization with four core programs — Individual Representation, Class Actions, Training and Publications and our pro-bono program, Lawyers Serving Warriors® — fighting for justice on behalf of those who served us.

Check out our 40th Anniversary webpage to learn more and use the hashtag #NVLSP40 to join the conversation.
­­­­­­­­­­­NVLSP’s Veterans Benefits Manual (VBM) is the most comprehensive treatise on veterans law. Among advocates for veterans, it is held in very high regard and is commonly referred to as the authoritative source in veterans law. In 2021 alone, the VBM has been cited four times in decisions by the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.
The VBM is painstakingly updated annually. It is designed to help those who advocate on behalf of veterans to more easily navigate the complex and evolving laws and regulations governing the benefits to which our veterans are entitled. The 2020-2021 edition was over 2,200 pages long and contains essential insight and analysis from practicing lawyers at NVLSP, a team of experts on the front line of veterans law. 
The VBM has been cited as legal authority in numerous court cases. Please click here to view a list of those cases.
NVLSP FAQs on Veterans’ Benefits under Post-CARES-Act Coronavirus Laws

NVLSP recognizes that veterans may have questions about some new and expanded benefits aimed at helping veterans during the COVID-19 pandemic. NVLSP offers this FAQ document to help veterans understand the details of some new and expanded benefits aimed at helping veterans during the COVID-19 pandemic. The information is current as of May 2021.
NVLSP Applauds VA Secretary McDonough’s Announcement to Automatically Review Previously Denied Claims for Three New Agent Orange-Related Diseases and Pay Retroactive Compensation Under Nehmer Consent Decree -Potentially Impacting 50,000 Veterans and Survivors-

NVLSP welcomed the announcement on May 27,2021 from Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough that the VA will review and pay retroactive benefits for prior VA denials of disability and death benefits for three diseases with presumptive service connection to Agent Orange – bladder cancer, Parkinsonism and hypothyroidism – based on the consent decree in NVLSP’s landmark case Nehmer v. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Read More

NVLSP Offers Expertise on Toxic Exposure

NVLSP submitted statements for the record to the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs in May 2021 and the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs in April 2021 regarding toxic exposure. Specifically, NVLSP urged Congress to enact legislation requiring VA to take all of the steps it has taken in the past pursuant to the Nehmer consent decree for the three new disease covered by last year’s National Defense Authorization Act - bladder cancer, Parkinsonism and hypothyroidism.
­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­SAVE THE DATE!
Save the Date! On Thursday, November 18, 2021, NVLSP will be hosting its Virtual Annual Benefit Event.

Honoring NVLSP’s forty years of dedication to veterans, this year’s theme is Defending Veterans Rights Since 1981.

Check out our event webpage for more details! 
Thank you to everyone who joined our virtual panel discussion event, Military Veterans in the Legal Field, held on June 16, 2021.

If you were not able to view the event live, please click here for the recording.
­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­NVLSP continues its dedication to veteran law education by growing its webinar schedule in an effort to educate more veterans advocates on strategies for securing disability benefits for their clients. Experienced NVLSP attorneys will lead discussions on the following topics: 

NVLSP also has a comprehensive library of over 20 previously recorded webinars that are available at your convenience. 

NVLSP's Training & Publications program also offers: in-person training, the Online Basic Training Course, the Veterans Benefits Manual, and the VA Benefit Identifier App.
Helen Chong
Helen Chong is NVLSP’s Training Associate and Webinar Manager. In her position, Helen manages NVLSP’s webinar program and online trainings; as an attorney, she also represents veterans before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. Helen is especially proud that NVLSP’s webinars and trainings have a multiplier or ripple effect on the number of advocates trained to assist veterans. With one hour of NVLSP training to 100 advocates, these advocates can then assist hundreds of veterans. Helen also appreciates the opportunity to work on individual cases, especially how the first-hand case experience can help inform potential new webinar topics and training products. 

Helen’s interest in the law stems from her bicultural and bilingual family and community in Virginia. At a young age, she acted as an advocate and translator. Helen saw the law as its own language and lawyers as interpreters. After law school, and wanting to give back to her community, Helen began her legal career as a magistrate. Ultimately, Helen came in contact with the case of an injured veteran with a denied claim. While Helen could not help directly, she connected the veteran to an attorney who could. She later learned the case was successfully resolved, and the veteran was in a better place. It was then that Helen realized she wanted to transition her full-time focus to veterans. Helen has now been at NVLSP for almost three years.

Simply put, Helen is pleased to have the chance to help a population she admires and one she has personal connection to, knowing family and friends who have served. She has seen the challenges veterans face and is grateful she can do something to assist. She believes that the most important aspect of NVLSP’s work is communicating thoughtfully and sincerely as well as ensuring each veteran knows they are in good legal hands.

Fun facts about Helen: she has practiced Judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. During COVID, she has reconnected with her artistic side, playing the violin as well as starting cross-stitching.  
We hope this newsletter inspires you to become more active with NVLSP. If you want to help NVLSP do more for our veterans, here are a few suggestions.

  1. You can follow us on Twitter, connect with us on LinkedIn, and like us on Facebook.
  2. Help us promote our free App for veterans.
  3. Tell a friend about NVLSP.

We look forward to connecting with you again soon!