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BBA Webinar: Representing Veterans in Discharge Upgrades: Crafting Arguments Based on Post-Service Conduct and the Wilkie Memorandum

Monday, April 12, 2021 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM


The BBA presents live webinars and virtual events via Zoom. Please register for this program through your BBA account at least two hours before the start time of the program to receive the Zoom webinar link.

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 focuses on a strategic question in every discharge upgrade case: how to address a veteran client's post-service conduct in a petition to the military review boards, particularly in light of the new Wilkie Memorandum guidance to the boards. The panelists will offer views from their practice about how to build an argument for an upgrade based on post-service conduct, how to present post-service conduct both positive and negative, and related topics. They will also present early data on the impact of the Wilkie Memorandum and updates on recent developments in discharge upgrade law.

The information will benefit both attorneys new to discharge upgrade practice and attorneys with some prior experience. The program builds upon prior discharge upgrade pro bono trainings. Attorneys who did not attend the prior trainings are welcome to attend this training. Please reach out to the BBA staff contact listed below for access to videos and resources from those trainings. Attorneys who are interested in volunteering to represent a veteran in a discharge upgrade with the Veterans Justice Pro Bono Partnership, a project of the Veterans Legal Clinic at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School, should contact Dana Montalto at

BBA Webinars & Virtual Events are supported by the Joan B. DiCola Fund. To learn more or support this fund, click here.


Sponsoring Section/Committee(s):


  • Dana Montalto
    • Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School
  • Eileen L Morrison
    • Committee for Public Counsel Services - Lowell
  • Jacob Raver
  • Renee A. Burbank
    • Yale Law School



Douglas Newton


BBA Event Calendar