Clinical Program

Clinical Program Mission Statement
The University of Detroit Mercy School of Law pioneered Project SALUTE, the Veterans Law Clinic and the Veterans Appellate Clinic to address the compelling legal needs of veterans. These programs focus on Veterans Federal Disability and Pension Benefits matters through education and law student representation.

Practical Training
The Veterans Law Clinic and the Veterans Appellate Clinic represent low and moderate income veterans with their Veterans Federal Disability and Pension Benefits claims before the Department of Veterans Affairs, Board of Veterans Appeals and U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. Under the supervision of licensed attorneys, students interview clients, draft briefs, and argue claims. UDM students are able to see in a very real way how the law can be used to assist persons in need.

Classroom Component
Law 5200: Veterans Clinic
Credits: 4
Prerequisite(s): 30 Credit Hours, Evidence & Trial Practice Suggested

Students participating in the Veterans Clinic represent clients before the Department of Veteran Affairs in the administrative process. The work also includes interviewing potential clients and participating in Project SALUTE outreach clinics. This course includes a two hour class each week and a minimum of 12 office hours per week.

Law 5211: Veterans Appellate Clinic
Credits: 3
Prerequisite(s):  30 Credit Hours

This clinic class allows students to represent disabled veterans and/or their dependants before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) in disability compensation appellate cases. Students will have the opportunity to obtain appellate litigation experience while performing pro bono service. They will also be learning the expectations, methods and technical aspects of representation before the Court. 

The Veterans Appellate Clinic will integrate administrative law and forensic medicine and will require students to interview, investigate, research and develop the law and facts to pursue appeals by writing and filing the opening briefs and reply briefs for the Appellant. The clinic will discuss litigation strategy, Rule 33 Conference Hearings, Court rules, electronic case filing and issue framing. Potential appeals to higher courts will also be analyzed. Some cases handled by the students may involve oral argument before a three judge panel at the Court.

Interns will meet weekly for the classroom component and are obligated to spend an average of nine office hours per week on their cases. This work will sharpen analytical skills and allow the student to become more confident in their interaction with clients and the Court.