Nearly half of the 20 million veterans in the United States use at least one government benefit or service offered by U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (commonly known as the “VA”). Many of these veterans have developed mental and physical disabilities related to their service, and are entitled to compensation.
Every November as Veterans Day approaches, Proskauer honors the service of our active military, veterans and their families. As part of our efforts, the Firm had the privilege of hosting a panel discussion on some of the most pressing issues that veterans and their families currently face. We were honored to be joined by Wanda Montalvo, PhD, RN, Executive Director of Jonas Nursing & Veterans Healthcare (JNVH) at Columbia University, and Timothy Cochrane, SVP of Business Development at American Corporate Partners (ACP), whose work is on the frontlines of veterans’ healthcare and post-service employment.
Under Dr. Montalvo and the Board of Directors’ leadership, JNVH connects some of the country’s most prominent advocates for healthcare investment with leaders, innovators and experts from the worlds of business, philanthropy and education. Since 2008, Jonas Philanthropies has awarded $25 million in scholarships to support more than 1,250 doctoral nursing scholars at 157 universities in all 50 states. Approximately 330 of these scholars are focused on advancing veterans’ healthcare.
On October 22nd, Proskauer associates Dan Nelson and Jin Joo received the New York City Bar Justice Center’s 2018 Jeremy G. Epstein Award for Pro Bono Service. Since November 2017, Dan and Jin have coordinated Proskauer’s involvement in the Justice Center’s Veterans Assistance Project (VAP). These two are no strangers to public service. In addition to their current pro bono work, they both previously served with distinction in the military. Dan served in the U.S. Army infantry from 2000 to 2008, during which time he deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan; and Jin served in the U.S. Air Force as a communications officer for four years, and was deployed to Iraq in 2005.
Through VAP we provide veterans with legal assistance on claims for compensation from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The veterans we assist have disabilities arising from injuries sustained during their time in service, and are of limited means. These pro bono matters are important and impactful. At the firm, these are among the most popular cases to take, due to the challenging and fulfilling nature of the work. Proskauer’s involvement in VAP has grown rapidly thanks in large part to a successful partnership with Bloomberg L.P.’s legal department. We have represented a total of 45 veteran clients thus far with the help of approximately 30 Bloomberg and 70 Proskauer lawyers, paralegals and staff.
Serving veterans is a vital part of Prosakuer’s pro bono and corporate social responsibility initiatives. Knowing that an integrated approach is the best approach to the unique challenges faced by low income veterans, Proskauer recently hosted a panel discussion on the state of veteran affairs locally and nationally, and specifically how to best connect veterans with the services and resources that they need and deserve.
Moderated by Wendy Dessy, Proskauer’s Manager of Corporate Social Responsibility, the panel guests were Ray Toenniessen, Associate Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF), and Eric Henry, general counsel for the New York City Department of Veteran Services (DVS).