The public rarely understands what it takes to fight for one's legal rights or benefits. Good writers can translate those battles in ways that teach, empower, and (re)build community support for struggling individuals. This course is a study in the translation of legal challenges into civic advocacy.
In this course, students will write about real plaintiffs and legal cases for public audiences. As part of their journey, students will delve into the military and medical files of a disabled veteran applying for a discharge upgrade from the military. Most discharge upgrade applicants suffer from addiction and/or mental health issues, the same issues that cut short the veterans' military careers. Using academic legal writing, news sources, and confidential personnel and medical files, students will describe issues facing veterans in general, and our veteran client specifically. Students will write for a disability blog, a legal services organization (LSO) website, a middle school social studies magazine, a podcast, and a newspaper. Students' writings will inform the instructor's writing--as the veteran's pro bono legal counsel--of a discharge upgrade brief.