Free Traffic Ticket Clinic
for Veterans with Criminal Records
The UCLA School of Law Veterans Legal Clinic allows law students to assist underserved and marginalized veterans in Los Angeles while developing lawyering skills under the supervision of the clinic's Faculty Director and Assistant Professor of Law, Sunita Patel and Jeanne Nishimoto, the clinic's Associate Director.
Part of UCLA School of Law's Experiential Education program, the clinic is distinct from the student-run El Centro Legal clinic that also assists veterans.
The UCLA School of Law Veterans Legal Clinic is housed at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs West Los Angeles campus. Clinic clientele includes veterans who are chronically homeless and those who are aging, disabled and returning from incarceration.
In the course associated with the clinic, students' primary case work entails assisting veterans in securing benefits to which they are entitled and representing veterans as they seek to address tickets for infractions that might curtail their access to housing, employment or services.
"From my initial meeting at the West LA Stand Down, the students and staff members of the UCLA Veterans Legal Clinic have gone above and beyond. They have not only assisted me with appealing my benefits claims, but also accompanied me to doctor's appointments and talked to my case worker about my housing needs. They listen and want to help."
"The results Ms. Patel and her students achieved for me changed my life. I went from homeless to owning my home. I went from sleeping under a bridge to sleeping in my own bed. When I received the news that the VA admitted its mistake and returned $70,000 in benefits to me, I could not believe it. Without the help of the UCLA Veterans Legal Clinic, I don’t know where I would be today."
"The UCLA School of Law Veterans Legal Clinic allowed me to develop essential lawyering skills and apply them to serve a community that is close to my heart. As a veteran, I found the clinic to be an amazing opportunity to give back to those who gave so much."
Nathan Goncalves, Class of 2018
U.S. Army, 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment "Wolfhounds"
"Professionally, the Veterans Legal Clinic was an extraordinary opportunity to put what I learned in the classroom into action. I wrote real legal briefs, I prepared arguments to give in court, I appeared in front of a judge with a client. Personally, as the stepson of a veteran and someone who is dedicated to addressing the ongoing crisis of homelessness in our city, it was an incredibly meaningful experience."
Ian Grady, Class of 2019
UCLA Law Students Take on VA on Behalf of Veterans, (Connecting Vets, Dec. 18, 2019)
UCLA Veterans Legal Clinic Helps Veterans Get Access to Services (Federal News Network, Dec. 13, 2019)
Emerging Veteran Legal Issues: At the Intersections of the Margins of Justice (video recordings, October 17, 2018)
Serving those who served (UCLA Magazine, April 2018)
UCLA, VA launch first-of-its-kind family wellness center, new legal clinic for veterans (UCLA Newsroom, Nov. 27, 2017)
UCLA opens veterans support centers on the West LA VA campus (KPCC, Nov. 27, 2017)
Rep. Lieu celebrates opening of new veterans clinics in Los Angeles (Press Release, Nov. 27, 2017)
Veterans gain vital legal aid through new UCLA Law clinic (UCLA Newsroom, Nov. 2, 2017)