Veterans’ Attorney Christine Clemens of Finkelstein and Partners Named CVA-NOVA Pro Bono Advocate of the Year



Washington, D.C. – Two of the nation’s leading advocacy organizations for veterans – the Public Counsel’s 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 Christine Khalili-Borna Clemens of Finkelstein and Partners, LLP, a New York veterans law attorney.  She accepted the honor on April 22 at NOVA’s Spring Conference in San Antonio.

Established in 2009, the CVA/NOVA Pro Bono Advocates Program was created in response to the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) initiative to end veteran homelessness and the increased demand for legal assistance from poverty-stricken veterans.  The annual award is given to an outstanding NOVA member who exemplifies the pro bono spirit by providing free legal services to veterans unable to afford them.

“As a result of her participation, Christine has provided over 200 pro bono hours and tens of thousands of dollars in benefits to homeless veterans, enabling them to access permanent housing and other vital opportunities that lead to an independent life,” CVA Director and Program Manager Rick Little stated.  “Christine exhibits an incomparable passion, perseverance, and sincere advocacy spirit – indicative of a NOVA member.”

The CVA/NOVA Pro Bono Advocates Program is one of the largest and most successful partnerships of its kind, with 40 participant law firms nationwide.  NOVA members apply their advocacy skills in a variety of ways, from providing legal assistance with claims before VA and the various courts of appeal to helping a disabled veteran obtain a wheelchair or draft a will.  The end game is for underprivileged veterans to become self-sufficient and then to sustain that independence.

Since August 2009, program partners have provided more than 4,800 hours of pro bono legal assistance to veterans and their families.  Access to pro bono legal services has allowed veterans and their families to obtain over $1 million in needed financial support.

Ms. Clemens is Pro Bono Coordinator and a Managing Attorney for the Veterans’ Services Group at Finkelstein and Partners, LLP in New York. Christine received her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School and Masters in Public Policy from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy in 2008. She began her career as a staff attorney at Public Counsel in Los Angeles, first in the Homelessness Prevention Law Project, and then in the Center for Veterans Advancement. There, she provided direct legal services to homeless youth, families, individuals, and veterans. Christine also coordinated the Los Angeles County Homeless Court Program. In addition to her legal advocacy, Christine engaged in local policy advocacy on issues of homelessness and public assistance.

In October 2012, Christine joined the Veterans’ Services Group, where she has continued to pursue her passion of fighting for disabled veterans and their families. Christine’s practice focuses on VA disability compensation appeals for veterans and their survivors. She has conducted CLEs on veterans law and poverty law in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and California. In addition to managing pro bono projects and cases at her firm and her participation in the CVA/NOVA Program, she has handled pro bono cases for Legal Services NYC, Connecticut Veterans Legal Services Program, and the Veterans Pro Bono Consortium.

Christine was selected to the Super Lawyers New York Rising Stars List in 2016 and 2017. Christine is admitted to practice in the courts of California and New York, before the Veterans’ Administration (VA), the Court of Appeals for Veterans’ Claims (CAVC), the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC), and the Supreme Court of the United States. Christine is a member of the New York State Bar Association Committee on Veterans. She has worked collaboratively on that committee to produce amicus briefs to the CAFC and U.S. Supreme Court. She is also a member of the CAVC Bar Association and NOVA.

 

NOVA President Glenda Herl (far left), CVA/NOVA Pro Bono Advocate of the Year Christine Clemens (left center) , Founding Member Kenneth Carpenter (right center), and CVA/NOVA Pro Bono Program Director Rick Little (far right).

 

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 before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans’ Claims, the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.  NOVA works to develop and encourage high standards of service and representation for all persons seeking VA benefits.  Offices are at 1775 Eye St. NW, Suite 1150, Washington, DC 20006.  Phone: (202) 587- 5708, Fax: (202) 587- 5600, Email: kwhalen@vetadvocates.org.


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April 27, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Contact: Katy Whalen, Assistant Director

Tel: (202) 587-5708

Email: kwhalen@vetadvocates.org