CVA/NOVA Pro Bono Advocates Program Recognizes First Annual Award Recipient

October 16, 2012

Contact: Cathy Cuddy, Executive Coordinator
Tel: (202) 587- 5708

Bronx, NY Attorney Tara R. Goffney Receives National Honor

Washington, D.C.–The Public Counsel Law Center’s Center for Veterans Advancement (CVA) and the National Organization of Veterans’ Advocates, Inc. (NOVA) are pleased to announce that Bronx, NY attorney Tara R. Goffney is the first recipient of the annual CVA-NOVA Pro Bono Advocate of the Year Award.  Ms. Goffney accepted the award at NOVA’s Fall Conference in Philadelphia on October 12, 2012.

Implemented in 2009, the CVA/NOVA Pro Bono Advocates Program was created through a partnership of two of the nation’s most recognized advocacy organizations to fight homelessness among veterans by providing competent, pro bono representation before the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  This joint program was initiated in response to military veterans’ increased demand for legal services, as well as President Obama and Secretary Eric K. Shinseki’s determination to end Veteran homelessness by 2015.  It is now one of the largest and most successful pro bono programs in the United States.

The CVA-NOVA Pro Bono Advocate of the Year Award recognizes excellence in pro bono participation and achievement in veterans’ advocacy.  It is presented to either an individual or law firm for an outstanding single achievement, multiple achievements, or continuing pattern of achievement over the preceding year.

“Tara Goffney has earned the distinction of being the first recipient of this prestigious award for her unparalleled enthusiasm, grit, and genuine advocacy spirit indicative of a NOVA member and CVA pro bono partner,” according to CVA Director and Program Manager Rick Little.

Among Attorney Goffney’s achievements was winning more than $100,000 for a poor and disenfranchised veteran.  “Ms. Goffney continues her pursuit to aid those veterans most desperately in need of legal representation,” said NOVA President Michael Viterna.

Since its inception, the CVA/NOVA Pro Bono Program has enlisted the advocacy skills of NOVA members located throughout the country.  The Program includes representation at both the VA-agency level and at the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims Court, and has more than 40 participant law firms from across the U.S.  It provides much-needed pro bono claims representation to poverty-stricken and homeless veterans, increasing the likelihood of them receiving their benefits, sooner than expected.

From August 2009 to December 31, 2011, Program partners have provided more than 600 hours of pro bono legal assistance to indigent veterans.  This workload equates to a value of nearly $100,000 in labor value and $446,000 in income for veterans.

In May 2012, the Program launched an initiative to encourage NOVA members to provide legal assistance to the indigent and/or homeless in any legal matter, advancing its platform from focusing primarily on claims before the VA.

“Clearly, the collaboration between NOVA and Public Counsel through its pro bono advocates program has enabled us to help stem the tide of homelessness among our veteran population, strike out at the ravages of poverty, and provide our national heroes with the life they deserve—free from poverty and despair,”  CVA Director Little said.

NOVA will mark its 20th anniversary at its next conference in the spring in Washington, D.C.


About NOVA

The National Organization of Veterans' Advocates is a not for profit educational membership organization incorporated in the District of Columbia in 1993. NOVA is a national organization of attorneys and other qualified members who act as advocates for disabled veterans. Our goal is to provide excellent representation before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans’ Claims, the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, and the Department of Veterans Affairs, to veterans who have disability claims against the government resulting from their service as members of the armed forces.  Offices are at 1425 K St NW, Suite 350, Washington, DC 20005.  Phone: (202) 587- 5708, Fax: (202) 587- 5600, Email: