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Advocating for Veterans: The Basics on VA Benefits, Discharge Upgrades and Veteran Cultural Competency 2016

Author(s): Theresa Mesa, Kate Richardson
Practice Area: Health Care, Litigation, Pro Bono
Published: Nov 2016
PLI Item #: 150641
CHB Spine #: 77

Theresa Mesa is a Program Developer in the Office of Legal Services at the State Bar of California.  The Office of Legal Services works to improve the delivery of legal services to low-income Californians; works with stakeholders to expand access to justice in courts and administrative agencies; provides grants to legal aid programs and works to expand available legal aid resources.  Theresa is also the staff liaison to the State Bar Pro Bono Coordinating Committee and a graduate of Stanford Law School.

Kate Richardson is the Legal Director at Swords to Plowshares, a community-based non-profit organization that provides case management, employment and training, housing, and legal assistance to homeless and low-income veterans in the San Francisco Bay Area. As Legal Director, Kate oversees the legal services unit and pro bono program, which provide free legal assistance to veterans in their VA benefits claims and military discharge upgrade applications. Her experience in disability rights work includes direct services, policy advocacy, and community lawyering approaches. Prior to joining Swords to Plowshares, she worked on access to justice issues at an international legal empowerment organization. She holds a J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law and a B.A. from the University of Michigan. She is a member of the State Bar of California.