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Helping Our Heroes: Representing Veterans Before the VA, BVA, CAVC and DoD (2021 Military & Veterans Law Section Program)

8:25        Welcome and Introductions

8:30        Military Disability Retirement Pay and Issues in Family Law

Kara Goray, Law Offices of Mark E. Sullian PA, Raleigh (Moderator)
Kristopher J. Hilscher, Law Offices of Mark E. Sullivan PA

Receive an overview of military disability retirement pay with a focus on family law issues that can arise, such as rules for garnishment for alimony and child support and rules for military pension division.

9:30        Break

9:40        Claims for Service Connection for Mental Health Conditions

Angie Lowe, Jan Dils Attorneys at Law LC, Charlotte

During this session, the speaker discusses the legal criteria and evidence the VA requires for claims for service connection for mental health conditions to be granted, and the obstacles associated with getting those claims granted. The discussion also includes a special focus on veterans' claims for PTSD based on personal trauma, including military sexual trauma. Mental health conditions are common among the veteran population, yet claims for VA benefits for mental health conditions can often be the most challenging.

10:40      Break

10:50      Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU)

Christopher J. Stevens, Deuterman Law Group, Winston-Salem

The VA's disability benefits rating system is meant to compensate veterans based on the average impairment in earning capacity resulting from injuries and diseases incurred as a result of military service. But oftentimes a disability that is rated at less than 100% prevents a veteran from working. TDIU claims stand as important opportunities to ensure a veteran is appropriately compensated for the level of economic impairment they experience when the ratings schedule does not adequately do so.

11:50      Lunch Break

12:20      Gulf War Conditions: Special Issues and Considerations

Tod M. Leaven, Grimes Teich Anderson LLP, Asheville

One of the more challenging claims to analyze and argue is a claim for Gulf War conditions/chronic unexplained multisystem illness. What do you need to look for in Gulf War condition claims? What common mistakes and errors are made by examiners and VA decision-makers in adjudicating claims for Gulf War conditions? Hear about this important issue from an experienced advocate.

1:20        Break

1:30        Historical Military Drug Policy: Discharge Upgrades and VA Benefit Issues

Robert R. Davis, Law Offices of Robert R. Davis PLLC, Charlotte

Listen to a discussion on how military drug policy has evolved over time, what that means for veterans seeking discharge upgrades, and how those considerations play into claims for VA benefits.

2:30        Break

2:40        Military Lease Termination

Michael S. Archer, U.S. Marine Corps, Jacksonville

The most commonly arising landlord-tenant issue in a military legal assistance setting is early lease termination. This presentation addresses the treatment of this issue by state and federal law, the subtle differences between the two, and practical problems and recommended solutions.

3:40        Break

3:50        Moving Beyond Agency Review: Representing Veterans in Federal Court

Tod M. Leaven, Grimes Teich Anderson LLP, Asheville

When the Board of Veterans Appeals has denied a veteran's claim, the next step in the appeal process is to take the claim to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC). This is the first opportunity the veteran has for an independent federal court to review agency decisions and correct errors made by the Board of Veterans Appeals. Representing veterans at this level is an important skill for an advocate to know. Learn the details of the legal landscape at the CAVC and how to argue effectively at this level.

4:50        Adjourn

Thank you

Thank you for joining us for Helping Our Heroes: Representing Veterans Before the VA, BVA, CAVC and DoD (2021 Military & Veterans Law Section Program).


  • Michael S. Archer

    Michael S. Archeris the Legal Assistance Director for the Marine Corps' southeast region. After graduation from the University of Maryland (undergraduate) and George Washington University (law), Michael served as a Marine Corps judge advocate, retiring from active duty in 2003. Current collateral duties include legal advisor to the Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board.

    Michael has written numerous articles concerning military consumer law and has appeared before committees of the NC General Assembly and the U.S. Congress. He is the author of "Ripped Off! A service member guide to common scams, frauds, and bad deals," published in 2014 by the American Bar Association. He is the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award of both the American Bar Association (2012) and the North Carolina State Bar (2006).

    Michael resides in Jacksonville, NC with his wife Deborah Doolittle.

    Click here for more information about Michael.

  • Robert R. Davis

    Robert R. Davis started the Law Offices of Robert R. Davis to handle veterans' benefits and military record correction issues. Robert began his career clerking for U.S. District Court Judge, Joseph J. Farnan, Jr., in Delaware and then practiced complex corporate litigation before moving to Charlotte in 2006.

    Robert received his juris doctor from William and Mary and also received a Master's Degree in Public Policy. Robert earned his undergraduate degree from Appalachian State University.

    Robert's law firm is located in Charlotte but represents clients throughout the United States and overseas.

    Click here for more information about Robert.

  • Kara Goray

    Kara Goray is a current 3L at Campbell Law School and law clerk at Law Offices of Mark E. Sullivan.

  • Kristopher J. Hilscher

    Kristopher J. Hilscher is a board-certified family law specialist practicing in Raleigh. He works with attorneys nationwide on military divorce issues, drafting military pension division orders, and tackling many other military family law issues.

    Kris is the author of several articles on military divorce and serves as Vice Chair of the Military Committee of the ABA Family Law Section.

    Click here for more information about Kris.

  • Tod M. Leaven

    Tod M. Leaven is a Veteran of the United States Army and a partner at Grimes Teich Anderson, practicing Veterans Law. He is currently an Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina School of Law, teaching Veterans Benefits and assisting in its Military and Veterans Law Clinic.

    Tod lives in Asheville, NC, but his practice is nationwide.

    Click here for more information about Tod.

  • Angie Lowe

    Angie Lowe a Disability Benefits Attorney with the Jan Dils Law Firm, believes it is her turn to fight for them. A member of the Jan Dils legal team since 2009, Angie Lowe helps Veterans obtain disability benefits, providing sound legal advice, skilled representation and, often, some needed encouragement.

    Angie is a Pittsburgh native – and a diehard Steelers, Pirates and Penguins fan – who received her undergraduate degree in political science from Westminster College. Angie attended law school at the Duquesne University School of Law in Pittsburgh, where she completed an internship with the Women's Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh. She graduated in 2008.

    Click here for more information about Angie.

  • Christopher J. Stevens

    Christopher J. Stevens is an attorney at The Deuterman Law Group in Winston-Salem. His area of practice is representing military veterans in their claims for VA disability compensation. He is accredited to practice at the VA and the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. He is currently the Secretary for the NCBA Military and Veterans Law Section.

    Christopher earned his juris doctor from the UNC School of Law. He graduated from Appalachian State University with a bachelor of science in business administration, double majoring in economics and marketing.

    Click here for more information about Christopher.

November 18, 2021
Thu 8:25 AM EST

Duration 8H 25M

This live web event has ended.

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