JOBS & VOLUNTEERING

Staff Positions

Director, Discharges

The Veteran Advocacy Project (VAP) seeks an attorney to lead our discharge upgrade practice.

VAP provides free legal services to low-income veterans and their families, with a focus on those living with post-traumatic stress disorder, brain injury, and substance dependency. The VA’s records indicate that an average of 17 veterans die by suicide each day—too many struggle with mental health conditions and the effects of trauma. Our services provide access to health care and benefits, open the door to education and employment, keep families in their homes, and empower veterans by removing barriers to recovery. We partner with VA Vet centers, community health clinics, and veterans’ organizations to reach individuals where they are. While our attorneys tackle legal challenges, our advocates connect clients with appropriate resources.

The ideal candidate is someone who has ideas for programmatic development, experience implementing initiatives, understands the challenges of fundraising, and enjoys supervising new attorneys. Our organization has a full docket of discharge upgrade applications, including a long waitlist for services. While this position will be a management/supervisory role, we are a small organization so there is case work, as well. In line with our mission, our DU cases focus on the unjust treatment of individuals living with mental illness and those experiencing symptoms from the impact of trauma, both mental and physical. Our work covers discrimination based on race, sexual orientation, gender identity, and other characteristics subject to prejudice.

We are looking for an attorney who believes in a client-centric approach, which includes connecting veterans to partner services outside the legal sphere. The attorney should be someone who wants to fight for clients no matter the era, amount of time in service, justice involvement, discharge, or type of injury.

The position requires that the individual oversee staff (currently one staff attorney and a number of law students), research and write applications and briefs, collaborate with providers to obtain forensic psychiatric/psychological evaluations and maintain relationships with forensic programs, oversee the management of a pro bono docket, and appear before Department of Defense Review Boards. The attorney will also work with the executive director on systemic advocacy efforts and on fundraising to expand the practice.

Individuals with military service, prior experience working with veterans, people with disabilities, people of all gender identities, people from underrepresented communities, and people of color are strongly encouraged to apply.

Responsibilities:

  • Represent clients before DOD boards and potentially in federal court;
  • Write discharge upgrade applications and briefs;
  • Screen (supervise the screening of) veterans for relief, including exhaustive investigation of military history, post-service conduct, and medical records;
  • Share responsibility in overseeing law students working on investigations and briefs;
  • Organize programs for and provide guidance to pro bono attorneys;
  • Collaborate with expert witnesses, including forensic mental health professionals;
  • Research legal issues, with a focus on military discharges;
  • Provide telephone and/or written advice to clients;
  • Supervise and work with staff on case strategies and integration of services to meet clients’ needs as holistically as possible;
  • Work with the ED to shape policy positions and advocacy agenda;
  • Assist in fundraising for the program, including identifying new sources and contributing to grant applications;
  • Track client information in our database, run reports required by funders, attend meetings, perform administrative tasks related to the work.

Qualifications:

  • Current member in good standing of a state bar (New York preferred);
  • Minimum five years’ experience in veterans law matters:
  • Knowledge of the discharge upgrade and records correction processes, including experience drafting applications to the BCMRs/BCNR and DRBs;
  • Excellent analytical and critical thinking skills;
  • Excellent organizational and time-management skills;
  • Excellent communication skills, including a commitment to trauma-informed services and the ability to assist people living with mental health conditions, substance use disorders, and traumatic brain injury;
  • Ability to work independently with strong motivation and initiative, to meet deadlines, and to be flexible;
  • Experience managing projects and teams;
  • Demonstrated commitment to social justice and veterans’ issues.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Knowledge of UCMJ, DODI, and branch regulations;
  • Experience working with expert witnesses, specifically forensic mental health professionals.

Compensation: Salary is commensurate with experience and in the range of $85,000 – $115,000. Full benefits package including employer-paid healthcare premiums, life insurance, dental and vision plans, 401K, etc.

Location: The job is remote but proximity to the New York Metropolitan area is preferred given that the position is supported by a contract with the City of New York, along with various grants.

To apply: Please send a cover letter, resume, and veterans law writing sample to [email protected] and include “Director” in the subject line. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. We read every application with care but regret that we are unable to respond to inquiries and will contact only those candidates selected for further consideration.
Veteran Advocacy Project, Inc., is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will be afforded equal employment opportunities without discrimination because of race, religion/creed, color, national origin, immigration status, gender or gender identity, age, disability, sexual orientation, military status, caregiver status, arrest or conviction record, unemployment status, predisposing genetic characteristics, survivor of domestic/intimate partner violence status, or marital or partnership status.

Staff Attorney, Discharges

The Veteran Advocacy Project (VAP) seeks an attorney for our discharge upgrade practice, representing veterans before Department of Defense review boards. Please note that resumes submitted without a cover letter will not be reviewed.

VAP provides free legal services to low-income veterans and their families, with a focus on those living with post-traumatic stress disorder, brain injury, and substance dependency. The VA’s records indicate that an average of 17 veterans die by suicide each day—too many struggle with mental health conditions and the effects of trauma. Our services provide access to health care and benefits, open the door to education and employment, keep families in their homes, and empower veterans by removing barriers to recovery. We partner with VA Vet centers, community health clinics, and veterans’ organizations to reach individuals where they are. While our attorneys tackle legal challenges, our advocates connect clients with appropriate resources.

The staff attorney will work with the team to address the legal needs of low-income veterans in a holistic manner. The position will focus on applications to the DOD/DHS Discharge Review Boards and Boards for Correction of Military/Naval Records. The attorney will conduct outreach, engage in extensive investigation, research and write application briefs, collaborate with providers to obtain forensic psychiatric/psychological evaluations, and appear before administrative boards. The attorney may also represent veterans in federal court and may work with pro bono attorneys on a small number of cases.

Individuals with military service, prior experience working with veterans, people with disabilities, people of all gender identities, people from underrepresented communities, and people of color are strongly encouraged to apply.

Responsibilities:

  • Represent clients before Review Boards;
  • Create discharge upgrade applications;
  • Screen veterans for relief, including exhaustive investigation of military history, post-service conduct, and medical records;
  • Collaborate with expert witnesses, including forensic mental health professionals;
  • Conduct intake at partner organizations’ sites;
  • Research legal issues, with a focus on military discharges;
  • Provide telephone and/or written advice to clients;
  • Provide thorough referrals to connect clients with other services; work with other staff on case strategies and integration of services to meet clients’ needs;
  • Track client information in our database, prepare reports required by funders, attend team meetings, perform administrative tasks related to the work.

Qualifications:

  • Current member in good standing of a state bar;
  • Knowledge of the discharge upgrade and record correction processes;
  • Excellent analytical and critical thinking skills;
  • Excellent organizational and time-management skills;
  • Excellent communication skills, including the ability to work well with people living with mental health conditions, substance use disorders, and traumatic brain injury;
  • Ability to work independently with strong motivation, to meet deadlines, and to be flexible;
  • Demonstrated commitment to social justice and veterans’ issues.

Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience, with generous benefits package, including employer-paid healthcare premiums, life insurance, 401K, etc.

Though the position is remote, an employee based in New York is preferred, not required, for outreach and partnership purposes.

To apply, please send a cover letter and resume to [email protected] with “Discharge Attorney” in the subject line. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Veteran Advocacy Project, Inc., is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will be afforded equal employment opportunities without discrimination because of race, religion/creed, color, national origin, immigration status, gender or gender identity, age, disability, sexual orientation, military status, caregiver status, arrest or conviction record, unemployment status, predisposing genetic characteristics, survivor of domestic/intimate partner violence status, or marital or partnership status.

Staff Attorney, Civil Practice

Veteran Advocacy Project (VAP) seeks an attorney who is passionate about veterans and social justice to join our civil practice.

The Veteran Advocacy Project (VAP) provides free legal services to low-income veterans and their families, with a focus on those living with post-traumatic stress disorder, brain injury, and substance dependency. The VA’s records indicate that an average of 17 veterans die by suicide each day—too many struggle with mental health conditions and the effects of trauma. Our services provide access to health care and benefits, open the door to education and employment, keep families in their homes, and empower veterans by removing barriers to recovery.

We are partnered with VA Vet centers, community health clinics, and veterans’ organizations to reach individuals where they are. While our attorneys tackle the legal challenges, our advocates connect clients to culturally competent, trauma-informed resources.

VAP represents veterans and their families in three main practice areas. Our civil legal services are centered around homelessness prevention. In addition to providing advice and referrals on a variety of civil legal issues, VAP represents veterans and their families in housing court and at administrative hearings. Our Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) practice represents veterans on character of discharge determinations, overpayments, mental health disability compensation appeals, and apportionment issues. VAP’s Department of Defense (“DOD”) practice fights to correct unjust less-than-honorable discharges that brand a veteran for life and increase the likelihood of justice-involvement, suicide, and homelessness.

The staff attorney will provide advice and representation in housing, public benefits, consumer debt, and other civil legal matters. This position will work with partners in our MLPs, such as Vet Centers and Community Healthcare Network clinics, and with the SSVF teams at collaborating social services agencies. (VAP’s housing practice is focused on our partnerships with organizations in the VA’s SSVF program; we do not have any city-funded housing contracts that require minimum case counts or income restrictions.) The attorney would be expected to appear, in person, when required by courts/administrative entities, but would have the ability to work remotely at all other times.

VAP believes a diverse team is essential to our work. Candidates with military service, prior experience working with veterans, people with disabilities, women, people of color, and individuals from marginalized communities are strongly encouraged to apply.

Responsibilities:

  • Represent clients in housing court and administrative hearings;
  • Provide telephonic and/or written advice to clients as needed;
  • Research legal issues, with a focus on housing law;
  • Work with the VAP team on case strategies and integration of services to meet clients’ needs;
  • Perform administrative tasks, including: entering all client info into our database, copying, and faxing, etc.

Qualifications:

  • JD and current membership in good standing of the New York State Bar;
  • Minimum 2 years experience in legal services;
  • Strong work ethic and ability to take initiative; efficacy in organizing and prioritizing;
  • Demonstrated proficiency in legal research; excellent analytical and critical thinking skills;
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills, including a commitment to providing trauma-informed services and the ability to work with people living with mental illness, substance use disorders, and traumatic brain injury;
  • Dedication to serving all clients, without regard to discharge status or justice involvement.

The salary for this position will be based on an annual rate in the range of $72,000 – 86,000 and will be commensurate with experience.

To apply, please send a cover letter and resume “[YourLastName], Civil Attorney” in the subject line to [email protected]. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

The Veteran Advocacy Project is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will be afforded equal employment opportunities without discrimination because of race, religion/creed, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, military status, predisposing genetic characteristics, victim of domestic violence status or marital status.

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Fiscal and Operations Manager (Part Time)

Veteran Advocacy Project (VAP) seeks a candidate to manage the fiscal and operational needs of our small organization.

VAP provides free legal services to low-income veterans and their families, with a focus on those living with post-traumatic stress disorder, brain injury, and substance dependency. The VA’s records indicate that an average of 17 veterans die by suicide each day—too many struggle with mental health conditions and the effects of trauma. Our services provide access to health care and benefits, open the door to education and employment, keep families in their homes, and empower veterans by removing barriers to recovery. We partner with VA Vet centers, community health clinics, and veterans’ organizations to reach individuals where they are. While our attorneys tackle the legal challenges, our advocates connect clients with appropriate resources.

The Fiscal & Operations Manager will work with the executive director, program directors, and our external accounting team to oversee invoicing, budgeting, allocations, and strategic development, along with various operational issues that may arise.

The position is entirely remote and we estimate that it will range from 1 to 10 hours per week, with an extremely flexible schedule (much of the work can be completed outside of standard business hours). There is potential for increased hours in the spring and fall, due to cyclical funding activities, such as our annual audit.

The ideal candidate has finance, development, and accounting knowledge as well as experience with budget projections and financial management of restricted funding, government contracts, and program grants. The person must have a working knowledge of GAAP and should be familiar with the rules and regulations governing 501(c)(3) organizations, federal contracting (from applications to audits), and New York City contracting procedures, including experience working in PASSPort and HHS Accelerator.

VAP believes a diverse team is essential to our work. Candidates with military service, prior experience working with veterans, people with disabilities, women, people of color, and individuals from marginalized communities are strongly encouraged to apply.

Responsibilities:

  • Manage the administrative requirements of the organization’s contracts including invoicing and providing documentation to funding agencies (budgets, year-end financial reports, insurance certifications, etc.);
  • Oversee VAP’s ledgers in QBO in conjunction with our accounting team;
  • Oversee budget allocations for contracts and grants and provide budget projections;
  • Identify opportunities for new funding;
  • Assist the accounting team with audit preparation;
  • Perform administrative tasks related to fiscal operations.

Qualifications:

  • Minimum 2 years’ experience in a similar position in a financial or operations capacity;
  • Strong work ethic and ability to take initiative; efficacy in organizing and prioritizing;
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills.

Hourly compensation will be commensurate with experience, ranging from $30 – $50 per hour.
Estimated 1 to 10 hours per week, with an extremely flexible schedule (most work does not need to be completed during standard business hours).
To apply, please send a cover letter and resume with “Fiscal” in the subject line to [email protected]. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and the goal is to hire immediately.

The Veteran Advocacy Project is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will be afforded equal employment opportunities without discrimination because of race, religion/creed, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, military status, predisposing genetic characteristics, victim of domestic violence status or marital status.

Pro Bono

VAP welcomes partnerships with law firms that would like to take on pro bono cases. There is a great need for family law services, representation in housing court, and assistance with military discharge upgrades. To learn more about volunteering with VAP please email us with “pro bono” in the subject line.

Discharge Upgrade Clinic: When servicemembers leave the military their discharge status determines what benefits, if any, they are eligible to receive. A bad discharge can be a barrier to employment, benefits, and health care. Worse, veterans with less than honorable discharges take their lives at two to three times the rate of other veterans. Many of our servicemembers are given less-than-honorable discharges due to misconduct connected to mis- or undiagnosed post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury. From 2011-2015, of the servicemembers who were discharged for misconduct, 62 percent had already been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder or a related mental health condition.   With an Other Than Honorable discharge most will be turned away from the VA. We are not only punishing injury, we are cutting them of from the very care they need to heal.

VAP is fighting to get these veterans the resources they deserve. For firms who would like to take on cases, we have a “hands-on” approach that includes a launch training, ongoing guidance, brief-editing, and we will coordinate moot hearings in preparation for any DRB appearances; we also have an online resource center with videos, sample applications, and more.

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Internships

VAP accepts law students and undergraduate applicants who will receive credit for the internship or who have a public interest grant. If you would like to intern with VAP but do not have funding in place, we will support your application for a grant or scholarship. A good place to start is your school’s public interest/career office. You can also search this free national database that is updated daily (requires registration). For more information about our internships, please see the opportunities below:

Legal

The Veteran Advocacy Project provides legal representation to low-income veterans and their families, with a focus on those living with post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, substance use disorders, and other mental health issues.

Our practice covers Housing Court, VA claims, public benefits, military discharge upgrades, and more. We are seeking 2Ls and 3Ls with excellent analytical and critical thinking skills, demonstrated proficiency in legal research, and the ability to communicate well with others, including those living with mental illness.

Internships for our civil practice are available throughout the year. VAP participates in the PILC Fair for summer internships and slots are usually filled by the first or second week of February. If you are not applying through PILC, please submit an application before February 1.

Interns will participate in outreach and client interviews, represent veterans in administrative hearings when possible, write legal memos, or assist in discharge upgrades or VA claims cases. They will be provided with training and supervision, including guidance on providing legal services with a trauma-informed approach.

Please send a resume and cover letter to [email protected] with the subject: “[Fall/Spring/Summer YYYY] Internship.” Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.

Veteran Advocacy Project, Inc., is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will be afforded equal employment opportunities without discrimination because of race, religion/creed, color, national origin, immigration status, gender or gender identity, age, disability, sexual orientation, military status, caregiver status, arrest or conviction record, unemployment status, predisposing genetic characteristics, survivor of domestic/intimate partner violence status, or marital or partnership status.

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Undergraduate

The Veteran Advocacy Project seeks interns to assist with legal services. Responsibilities range from direct client interaction to administrative work. The internship can be full- or part-time, and weekly hours are flexible. VAP will make every effort to support fellowship applications and other opportunities for funding so that income is not a barrier to an internship experience.

Responsibilities:

  • Interact with clients: intake, follow up interviews, assistance with paperwork (forms, releases, etc.);
  • Write letters to government agencies and clients;
  • Obtain and copy court files;
  • Provide thorough referrals to connect clients with other services;
  • Perform administrative tasks, including: covering the intake phone line, entering client information into multiple databases, copying, faxing, etc.

Qualifications:

  • Excellent analytical and critical thinking skills;
  • Meticulous attention to detail;
  • Communication skills, including the ability to maintain confidentiality and to work with people living with mental illness;
  • Ability to work independently, to meet deadlines, and to be flexible.

Please send a resume and cover letter to [email protected] with the subject: Undergrad “[Fall/Spring/Summer YYYY] Internship.” Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.

Veteran Advocacy Project, Inc., is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will be afforded equal employment opportunities without discrimination because of race, religion/creed, color, national origin, immigration status, gender or gender identity, age, disability, sexual orientation, military status, caregiver status, arrest or conviction record, unemployment status, predisposing genetic characteristics, survivor of domestic/intimate partner violence status, or marital or partnership status.

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