Press Releases

Sen. Warner Highlights Success of W&M's Puller Clinic at Nat'l Conference on Law Clinics Serving Vets

~ Puller Clinic has been certified by the V-A as national “best practice” program ~ ~ W&M law students help veterans access their benefits ~

Apr 03 2014

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), who has championed the College of William and Mary’s Lewis B. Puller, Jr. Veterans Benefits Clinic for three years, highlighted its extraordinary success today at the clinic’s first National Conference On Law Clinics Serving Veterans. The Puller Clinic is the first law school clinic in the nation to be certified by the V-A as a national “best practice” program, with an expedited process for submission of veterans disability claims. 

“The Puller Clinic has been recognized as a national leader in helping veterans with some of the most difficult cases receive faster approval for the V-A benefits they have earned,” Sen. Warner said. “I am so proud of the Clinic and its incredible work, and excited that we have so far extended this model to an additional 15 law schools across the country. This conference allows us to explore opportunities to expand the Puller Clinic model even further. This will help the V-A continue in its efforts to move more quickly through its backlog while helping law students develop new skills and an appreciation for pro bono service.”

“The interprofessional model of the Puller Clinic treats veterans holistically, addressing their legal and medical challenges, while also training tomorrow’s attorneys in the ethical and skilled practice of law,” said Patricia Roberts, conference chair and director of clinical programs at William & Mary Law School. “The enthusiasm and passion demonstrated by law school and law firm attendees will result in the creation of additional and diverse pro bono programs in support of veterans.”

In 2013, Sen. Warner sent letters to V-A Secretary Eric Shinseki and the President urging them to move more aggressively to reduce the V-A claims backlog.  Sen. Warner also sent a letter to each of his Senate colleagues promoting the Puller Clinic model, and met with Secretary Shinseki to advocate for the Puller Clinic program as a national model to help the V-A solve its backlog challenges. Earlier this week, the V-A announced it had reduced its claims backlog by 44%, from 600,000 to 344,000 pending claims.

During their two-day conference in Washington, Puller Clinic directors and staff, and representatives from other programs, are sharing best practices so that other schools can launch similar initiatives of their own. Representatives from more than 40 different law schools and universities are attending the conference.