With dozens of calls from veterans every week, CVLC alone cannot meet the growing demand for legal advocacy services. But together with a strong community of pro bono volunteers, veterans can trust that their legal needs will be met by knowledgeable advocates in the field.
Finn Dixon & Herling’s pro bono attorneys recently submitted a VA benefits case and took on three more cases. With a dedicated team, their attorneys gather evidence and witness testimonies to help their veteran clients access the healthcare and disability benefits they earned through their time in service.
Attorney Deirdre Daly, partner at Finn Dixon & Herling, oversees a team of five associates working on these cases. She was the first woman to be presidentially appointed to lead the Connecticut United States Attorney’s Office where she served from 2013 to 2017.
At Finn Dixon & Herling, her team includes Attorney Kate Dougherty, Attorney Eilis Meagher, Attorney Claire Stevens, Attorney John Torrenti, and Attorney Tahirih Vinas.
Attorney Daly described the work as “tremendously gratifying” particularly at this time with so many people struggling during the COVID 19 pandemic. She and her team are grateful to have the opportunity to support the veteran community in Connecticut.
Growing up with a long legacy of family military service, Attorney Daly has always had enormous respect for people who serve. Her father served in the Army during World War II. Along with other Allied soldiers, he stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-Day at Omaha Beach. For his service, he was awarded the Medal of Honor – the United States of America’s highest and most prestigious personal military decoration to recognize service members for their distinguished acts of valor. Additionally, her paternal grandfather was a Colonel in both World Wars; and her brother served multiple tours of duty in Vietnam.
“It is a real honor and privilege to give back to veterans even in this small way,” she says.
Attorney Daly explains that her team is a quick study and has learned the intricacies of working with the Department of Veterans Affairs. VA Benefits cases require knowledge of various forms, language, and processes unique to the military and the VA.
She says the team has learned a great deal from working with veterans. The work has helped the attorneys understand the challenges veterans face in asserting their rights to healthcare and disability benefits.
“During this pandemic, access to housing, healthcare, and income is key to securing public health,” said Attorney Daly, “My team and I are proud to work with CVLC in tremendously meaningful work to help low-income veterans recovering from homelessness and mental illness.”
Veterans clients come from a wide range of backgrounds, life experiences, and personal challenges. 80% of CVLC’s veteran clients have one or more disabilities, many suffer from a form of mental illness, and more than half have experienced homelessness. By helping vulnerable veterans access their VA benefits, advocates are opening the door to allowing a veteran to live a life with dignity.
Throughout her experience, Attorney Daly credits CVLC’s Attorney Cindy Johnson as being an invaluable asset in helping her and her team navigate the process and successfully advocate on behalf of veterans. She is hopeful that their cases succeed and their veteran clients receive full access to the benefits to which they are entitled. Confident that her team will continue to have a meaningful experience serving veteran clients, she also hopes her team will have opportunities to represent clients at hearings to strengthen their oral advocacy skills.
Cindy is happy to work with the team at Finn Dixon & Herling: “They are providing the help CVLC and veterans need. Their time, effort and amazing skills allow veterans faster access to the financial and mental health benefits they are entitled to, avoiding lengthy appeals and delays.”
CVLC is grateful to Finn Dixon & Herling for supporting veterans in this critical time. Thank you for all your hard work and thank you for serving all those who served.
VA Benefits cases have become increasingly urgent during this pandemic and CVLC needs help to meet the growing need for legal services for veterans. If you’re interested in volunteering, contact Attorney Ashleigh Backman (firstname.lastname@example.org).