Panel: Veterans Judicial Review Act

Thanks to everyone who attended our panel discussion on the history of the Veterans Judicial Review Act and the creation of the CAVC!

The panel featured  Bill Brew, former Chief Counsel and Staff Director of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs; Patrick Ryan, former Staff Director and  Chief Counsel of the House of Representatives Committee on Veterans’ Affairs; and Barton Stichman, Joint Executive Director of the National Veterans Legal Services Program.  Judge Mary Schoelen moderated the discussion.

Tuesday, May 16, at 3:00 p.m.

Followed by reception with light refreshments hosted by the Court and the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program

Courtroom, United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims
625 Indiana Ave NW, Suite 900
Washington, DC 20004

Additional Information:

Click here to download an introduction to the history of the VJRA

Speaker Bio: Bill Brew

Mr. Brew was a staff member on the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs from 1978 to 1997, 2001 to 2002, and 2006 to 2011, where he held various positions, including Associate Counsel, Associate General Counsel, Minority Counsel, Deputy General Counsel, General Counsel and Minority General Counsel, and Democratic Chief Counsel and Chief Counsel/Staff Director.  Key issues included VA health care, environmental exposures, and judicial review of agency decisions. From 1997 to 2001, he served as Director, Intergovernmental Affairs, for the Alliance for Aging Research.  In that position, he directed governmental interactions for non-profit advocacy organization, especially for matters involving the Congress, with an emphasis on linking VA and non-VA work on aging matters. From 2002 to 2003, he was a Counselor and member of senior staff of the President’s Task Force to Improve Health Care Delivery For Our Nation’s Veterans.  He served as an analyst and senior staff member for the CARES Commission from 2003-2004. Mr. Brew is a 1967 NROTC graduate of the University of Notre Dame.  He served for six years in the U.S. Navy, including an 18-month tour in Viet Nam.  He is a 1976 graduate of the Columbus School of Law, Catholic University of America.  Mr. Brew is the father of five children and a native of Northern Virginia.

Speaker Bio: Patrick Ryan

Mr. Ryan has a unique blend of experience in the Executive and Legislative branch and for the last 13 years as a trusted consultant and problem solver on a wide array of issues affecting the delivery of services to veterans. Prior to becoming a consultant, he served for 21 years as the counsel to the Chair and Members of the House of Representatives Committee on Veterans Affairs, including serving as the Committee Staff Director and Chief Counsel from 2001 to 2004. While employed by the Committee, Mr. Ryan was continuously confronted by a wide range of proposals to revise policies governing veterans’ benefits or to establish new benefits. Significant legislation enacted while Mr. Ryan worked on the Committee included expanded judicial review of VA benefit decisions, the elevation of VA to a cabinet department, the establishment of the Montgomery GI Bill, and significant changes in the process for awarding service connected disability benefits to veterans who had potentially been exposed to harmful environmental agents. He also oversaw the revision of the Veterans Health Administration’s physician and dentist and nurse compensation authorities. His work required extensive interaction with, and requests to, analytical organizations, including the Government Accountability Office, the Congressional Research Service, the Congressional Budget Office, the Institute of Medicine, and the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, as well as numerous analytical and consulting organizations that reported to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Before going to work on Capitol Hill, Mr. Ryan worked at the VA as a staff attorney in the Office of General Counsel, as a budget analyst in the Office of Management, and as a benefits counselor for the Veterans Benefits Administration’s Washington Regional Office.  He has a broad knowledge of VA laws and the budget process, and has worked extensively with stakeholders to gain acceptance of a number of important changes to the laws and processes governing the delivery of benefits and services to our Nation’s veterans. Mr. Ryan earned his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. His undergraduate degree in government and politics was awarded by the University of Maryland.

Speaker Bio: Barton Stichman

Barton F. Stichman is Joint Executive Director of the National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP), a non-profit veterans service organization that he helped found in 1980.  After earning law degrees from New York University School of Law (J.D. 1974) and Georgetown University Law Center (LLM 1975), he has devoted his entire professional legal career to assisting veterans, active duty military personnel and their families receive the federal veterans benefits to which they are entitled.

Over the last 42 years, Mr. Stichman has represented current and former military personnel before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, U.S. district courts, U.S. courts of appeals, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, the Department of Veterans Affairs, military discharge review boards and boards for correction of military records.  His litigation efforts have resulted in payment of more than $4 billion in disability and death benefits to more than 100,000 disabled veterans and their families.

During his career, Mr. Stichman has trained thousands of attorneys and lay advocates in veterans law.  He helped organize two national pro bono programs:  the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program (which has recruited and trained volunteer attorneys for the last 25 years to represent those who have appealed to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims without a representative) and Lawyers Serving Warriors ® (an NVLSP project which provides free legal representation to veterans through NVLSP’s national network of dozens of private law firms and corporate legal departments).

Mr. Stichman is a co-author of The Veterans Benefits Manual, NVLSP’s 1900-page treatise on veterans benefits law, published annually by Lexis Law Publishing; and of past editions of The Rights of Military Personnel, and NVLSP’s Military Discharge Upgrade Manual.  He has written articles on veterans benefits law appearing in the Stanford Law & Policy Review, Administrative Law Review, The American University Law Review, The Federal Bar News and Journal, Clearinghouse Review, and Legal Times.

Mr. Stichman is a past co-chair of the Veterans Affairs Committee of the Section on Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice of the American Bar Association and past president of the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims Bar Association.