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Representing Veterans Pro Bono in Discharge Upgrade Cases: Perspectives from the Military Board Directors

Thursday, April 25, 2019 2:30 PM to 5:00 PM
Boston Bar Association - 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA


Many of the men and women who served in the U.S. armed forces are cut off from veterans’ services and benefits because they were given a less-than-honorable discharge. They may have served in combat, experienced military sexual trauma, or have suffered physical or mental wounds, but are nevertheless unable to access much-needed treatment and support from federal and state veterans agencies because of their discharge status. In many cases, the origin of their need for support—for example, service-related post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury—also contributed to the conduct that led to their less-than-honorable discharges.

This program offers the opportunity to hear directly from the leaders of the military review boards. The directors of the Air Force, Army, and Navy records corrections boards will present about how the boards operate and how pro bono attorneys can best advocate for their veteran clients. The pro bono training will also include an update about recent changes in the law.

This program builds upon prior discharge upgrade pro bono trainings held in June 2015, May 2016, May 2017, and May 2018. Attorneys who did not attend the prior trainings are welcome to attend this training. Please email Cassandra Shavney at for access to videos and resources from those prior trainings.

Attorneys who participate in the training will be eligible to join the Veterans Justice Pro Bono Partnership (VJPBP), established in 2015 by the Veterans Legal Clinic at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School. Through the VJPBP, the Veterans Legal Clinic screens and refers veterans seeking discharge upgrades to private attorneys and then provides ongoing support and expert resources to those attorneys throughout the case. The generosity and efforts of VJPBP attorneys help to address the enormous gap in the provision of legal services to veterans and will provide much-needed advocacy to those who served the nation in uniform.

Law students are welcome but are not eligible to take pro bono referrals from the Veterans Justice Pro Bono Partnership.

We invite you to stay immediately after the training for a networking reception.

Sponsoring Section/Committee(s):


  • Elizabeth Hill
    Executive Director, Board for Correction of Naval Records
  • Nicole Jackson
    Deputy, Air Force Board for Correction of Military Records
  • Joseph M. Masterson
    Senior Legal Advisor, Army Review Boards Agency
    • Army Board for Correction of Military Records
  • Dana Montalto
    Attorney & Clinical Instructor
    • WilmerHale Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School



Cassandra Shavney


BBA Event Calendar