Retired Ill. Circuit Court Judge Clarke Barnes Named CVA-NOVA Pro Bono Advocate of the Year

April 30, 2014

Contact: Katy Andriano, Executive Coordinator
Tel: (202) 587-5708

Retired Ill. Circuit Court Judge Clarke Barnes Named

CVA-NOVA Pro Bono Advocate of the Year

 Washington, D.C. – Two of the nation’s leading advocacy organizations for veterans – the Center for Veterans Advancement (CVA) and the National Organization of Veterans’ Advocates, Inc. (NOVA) – awarded the CVA-NOVA Pro Bono Advocate of the Year Award to Clarke Barnes, an Illinois veterans’ attorney, retired Circuit Court judge, and former Marine.

The CVA/NOVA Pro Bono Advocates Program was created in 2009 in response to Secretary Eric K. Shinseki’s charge to end veteran homelessness and the increased demand for legal assistance from poverty-stricken veterans.  This annual award honors an outstanding NOVA member whose Program participation exemplifies the pro bono spirit by providing legal services to veterans unable to afford them.

“As a result of his participation in the program since 2011, Judge Barnes has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in benefits to homeless veterans, affording them the opportunity to access permanent housing,” CVA Director and Program Manager Rick Little stated.  “Clarke exhibits an un-paralleled enthusiasm, grit, and genuine advocacy spirit—indicative of a NOVA member.”

Judge Barnes has been an attorney and counselor for 46 years, practicing as State’s Attorney and Public Defender in Rock Island County, Ill.  He served as a judge for the 14th Judicial Circuit Court of Illinois for 25 years, retiring in 2000, and also for the 17th Judicial Circuit in Rockford, Ill. from 2008 to 2009.  Barnes spent nearly 30 years in the United States Marine Corps, retiring with the rank of Colonel in 1995.

Since its inception, the CVA/NOVA Pro Bono Program has enlisted the advocacy skills of NOVA members throughout the country.  The Program includes representation at both the VA-agency level and at the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, and has more than 40 participant law firms.  It is now one of the largest and most successful pro bono programs in the U.S.

Judge Barnes accepted the honor at NOVA’s Spring Conference in Pittsburgh.

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: