“I am pleased to announce that the winners of the Veterans Clinic Alumni Scholarship for the Summer 2015 semester are Scott Sanborn and Rebecca Mersand,” said Director of the Veterans Legal Assistance Clinic Professor Berenson. “Both Scott and Rebecca are military veterans themselves and are particularly committed to assisting struggling veterans.”
Since 2006, the Veterans Legal Assistance Clinic (VLAC) has successfully provided limited legal assistance, as well as full service legal representation, to the residents and alumni of Veterans Village of San Diego – a highly successful, residential program that provides housing, substance abuse assistance, mental health counseling, and job training services to formerly homeless veterans struggling to regain full participation in society. Under the direction of Professor Steve Berenson, the clinic offers students valuable hands-on experience in handling a wide range of cases spanning family, consumer, and administrative laws.
“Scott has done great work on behalf of a Vietnam War veteran who is seeking to upgrade his discharge status in order to obtain medical care through the VA,” said Professor Berenson. “He has also done excellent work on behalf of a Navy veteran, who is seeking compensation for injuries sustained during a refueling operation at sea.” “It is really positive that Thomas Jefferson is able to step up and serve those veterans that have served us,” said Sanborn. “A veteran has taken an oath to defend the Constitution. The Constitution is particularly important to a lawyer as it legitimizes the practice of law. I look forward to seeing policy change addressing the current struggles our veterans are facing.”
Veterans Clinic Alumni Scholarships are awarded to the most dedicated students serving the Veterans Legal Assistance Clinic (VLAC). “Rebecca is working on a challenging family law case, including a disputed claim for spousal support, in addition to managing the TJSL self-help clinics this summer,” said Professor Berenson. “Please congratulate both on a job well done.”
“I started out working with Professor Berenson as a volunteer with the Veterans Self-Help Clinic early in my 2L year, a position I continue to this day,” said Mersand. “It was extremely important to me to be able to serve my fellow veterans. After taking Evidence, I was able to participate in the Veterans Legal Assistance Clinic, which afforded me the opportunity to have real clients of my own, as well as to participate in Stand Down San Diego over this past summer. The mission of the Veterans Clinic – to assist veterans that are completing or have already completed the recovery program through Veterans Village of San Diego – is the most satisfying experience I’ve had in law school yet because nearly ¼ of the homeless population in the US is comprised of veterans of the armed forces. The Veterans Clinic has solidified my commitment to helping low/no-income veterans get access to legal services, particularly where standing judgments against them are often preventing them from being able to get their lives together and move on from chronic homelessness and substance abuse.”
Scholarships are made possible by funds raised at the annual TJSL Alumni and Friends Golf Tournament. The next Alumni and Friends Golf Tournament will be held in conjunction with the Thomas Jefferson School of Law Alumni Weekend being held on Friday, October 9, 2015.