Patrick George, J.D. ’24, spent 14 years in active duty in the Air Force and a decade in the intelligence community, and saw many of his colleagues struggle to transition between military and civilian life, because they were unaware of supportive benefits available to them, or unable to access benefits because of the circumstances of their discharge.
“My close friend bled blue. He loved the Air Force and would have served for decades, but he was discharged in part due to sexual orientation and it devastated him,” says George, who is a member of Cornell Law Veterans Association. Like many veterans who don’t have the term “honorable” attached to their discharge, George’s friend felt stigmatized and isolated, denied benefits designed to help veterans transition successfully to civilian life, George says.
That’s why George, along with other members of the Cornell Law Veterans Association and Cornell Law School staff, designed a Veterans Law Practicum that will launch in fall 2023. The practicum will enroll 10 upper-class law students each semester who will practice under the supervision of two adjunct professors, both licensed attorneys with backgrounds in disability claims and veterans benefits.