CLA 2019 Military and Veterans Summit

Jan 14, 2019 8:30 am
War Memorial Building, 401 Van Ness Ave.

California Lawyers Association 2019 Military and Veterans Summit

Update: the summit has been postponed.

This summit aims to inform veterans rights advocates and legal representatives on veteran-specific issues, including military sexual trauma (MST), LGBT+ discrimination and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) issues, and bad paper. Proper advocacy in serving our veterans requires a thorough understanding of law and regulations and the unique issues they face. We encourage pro bono attorneys and other legal advocates to attend.

3 Hours of MCLE; includes 1 hour Elimination of Bias

Monday, January 14, 2019

San Francisco War Memorial
401 Van Ness Ave, Room 110
San Francisco, CA 94102


8:30 AM – 10:00 AM


Sexual Assault in the Military: Legal Problems & Remedies  

10:00 AM- 11:00 AM

Roughly one quarter of female service-members and one in ten male servicemembers experience sexual assault. This panel will describe the armed forces’ processes for investigating sexual assault and describe the support services available to military sexual trauma survivors. In addition, it will describe barriers to justice for these survivors, including the Feres doctrine’s bar on civil lawsuits by service members against the government.


  • Danette Montoya, San Francisco VA Health Care System
  • LTC Mary Catherine Vergona, U.S. Army

Justice Eileen C. Moore, California Court of Appeal

LGBT Service-Members and Veterans Rights

11:15 AM- 12:15 PM

LGBT Americans have served with distinction in the armed forces. However, despite this history of service, and the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, discrimination against LGBT service members is still widespread. This panel will discuss the statutes, policies and aspects of the military environment that contribute to this discrimination. It will also describe efforts to stop this discrimination, including ongoing litigation challenging the federal administration’s transgender ban.


  • Robert Alexander, Swords to Plowshares
  • Peter Perkowski, OutServe/SLDN
  • Elizabeth Gill, ACLU

Betsy Gwin, Harvard Law School

Luncheon with Keynote Speaker

12:15 – 1:15 PM

The program will include a luncheon presentation addressing issues of concern to the military and veteran’s community and the lawyers who serve them.

Discharge Upgrades: How to Restore Veteran Status and Benefits

1:15 – 2:15 PM

Over 500,000 former service members have other-than-honorable discharges, known as “bad paper.” In fact, the military is now issuing bad paper discharges at a higher rate than ever before. Service-members are often discharged due to behaviors stemming from traumatic experiences, such as assault or combat. Yet, under federal law, they do not qualify as “veterans” and are ineligible for VA benefits. This panel will describe the military’s discharge processes, including Court Martial proceedings, and how California lawyers can help by handling discharge upgrade petitions and related litigation.


  • Evan Seamone, Harvard Law School
  • Margaret Kuzma, Connecticut Veterans Legal Center
  • Robert Muth, University of San Diego Law School

Rose Carmen Goldberg, Swords to Plowshares

Register Online

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