Panel Discussion: The Evolution of Appellate Representation Before the CAVC

On June 30, 2023, the CAVC Historical Society and CAVC Bar Association hosted a panel discussion regarding the evolution of appellate representation before the CAVC. 

With the creation of the Court in 1988, veterans and their families had the right of judicial review of their VA appeals for the first time. There was, however, a lack of sufficient qualified counsel to represent these constituents, creating unique problems for the Court and VA. The panel discussed the various ways the Court, and the broader veterans law community, have tried to ensure that interested pro se litigants have representation before the Court. Topics for discussion included the effect of unrepresented litigants on practice before the Court, the rise of the Veterans Consortium, and the evolution of the appellants’ bar.

Judge Mary Schoelen, U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims
Linda Blauhut, Paralyzed Veterans of America
Mary Flynn, Office of General Counsel, Department of Veterans Affairs
Ronald Smith, Esq.
Andrew Reynolds, Central Legal Staff, U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims

David Ames, Bergmann and Moore, LLC

Conversation with the Chief Judges of the Second Generation of the Court

On October 21, 2021, the CAVC Historical Society and CAVC Bar Association hosted a panel discussion featuring three Chief Judges from the second generation of the Court, Senior Judges William P. Greene, Jr., Lawrence B. Hagel, and Robert N. Davis. 

Moderated by current Judge Michael P. Allen, the panel discussed challenges and triumphs as the Court grew, the continued evolution of the institution, and their thoughts about the Court’s history.

CAVC History From The Perspective Of Its Clerks of Court

On February 25, 2021, the CAVC Historical Society and CAVC Bar Association hosted a panel discussion featuring the first three Clerks of the Court, Melanie Dorsey, Robert Comeau, and Norman Herring. Moderated by the fourth and current Clerk, Gregory Block, the panel discussed challenges faced in the early days of the Court, the evolution of the position from the days of paper to electronic filing, and share their thoughts about the Court’s history. 

Panel Discussion: The Court’s First 15 Years

Please join the CAVC Historical Society for a panel discussion featuring two of the Court’s original Judges, Kenneth B. Kramer and Donald L. Ivers, moderated by current Judge Amanda Meredith. In honor of the Court’s 30th anniversary in 2019, the panel will focus on the first 15 years of the Court’s history.

When: Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 3:00 pm
Where: Courtroom, U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims

We will also livestream the event on the Historical Society’s YouTube Channel.

If you plan to attend in person, please RSVP by Monday, June 24, to

Notice of 2019 Annual Meeting & Trustee Elections

The CAVC Historical Society’s 2019 Annual Meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 29, 2019, at 3:00 pm in the Chief Judge’s Chambers of the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

Please RSVP to Jon Gaffney at if you plan to attend.

Trustee Elections

We are accepting nominations for individuals interested in serving on our Board of Trustees. If you are interested or would like to nominate someone, please email Jon Gaffney at no later than Wednesday, May 8.

Election ballots will be emailed to members approximately two weeks before the annual meeting.

2018 Annual Meeting and Officer Elections

Save the Date for our

2018 Annual Meeting

Thursday, May 3, 2018
3:00 pm

CAVC Courtroom
US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims
625 Indiana Ave NW, Suite 900

Please RSVP to

Call-In Details:
1 (855) 797-9485, Meeting # 857 648 304

If you are interested in running (or nominating someone) for one of our officer positions (President, Vice President, Secretary, or Treasurer), please email

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.