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SITE DESCRIPTION

Students will work in the Office of Regional Counsel, Region 5, where they will address a variety of legal issues presented by Regional Office officials and the CEOs and staff officials of five (5) VA Medical Centers located within Georgia and South Carolina. The primary areas of focus include employment and labor law, medical malpractice, torts, contracts, collections, ethics, and release of information. The attorneys in the Office of Regional Counsel litigate cases, evaluate administrative claims, participate in alternative dispute resolution, review proposals, advise clients, and provide training as necessary.

Duties externs can expect to perform include conducting legal research, preparing discovery, drafting motions, and preparing witnesses. When the hearing date arrives, externs have the opportunity to observe the proceedings. Much of the litigation handled by the office entails defending client facilities before the Merit Systems Protection Board and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; however, it is not uncommon for VA attorneys to work closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office as cases proceed to federal district court. Additionally, externs will have the opportunity to assist with administrative reviews of tort claims filed by veterans pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act. In conducting an administrative review, VA attorneys evaluate submitted claims and supportive documents, pertinent medical records, and other documents to form a recommendation to the Regional Counsel for denial or authorization of settlement of the claim.  Finally, externs are also exposed to a variety of issues related to hospital administration. These issues may include informed consent, disruptive patients, guardianship, release of information, collections, contracts, and statutory interpretation.

STUDENT QUALIFICATIONS

Prerequisites: None

Preferences:

  • Second and third-year students may apply.
  • Classes in Administrative Law and Employment Law are not required but are beneficial.

ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS

  • Students must be fingerprinted and submit to a background check.
  • Students should plan to be at the VA on Wednesday mornings to attend staff meetings.
  • Students should allow an additional 15-20 minutes in commute time (to park in the VA’s off-site parking lot and ride the shuttle).