Detroit Mercy Law Veterans Law Clinic successfully petitions for first discharge upgrade

July 01, 2024

University of Detroit Mercy School of Law’s Veteran’s Law Clinic (VLC) had its first fully Honorable Discharge upgrade granted for a U.S. Navy veteran. Professor Holly Christian, Director of the VLC, expanded the clinic’s practice to include record corrections when she joined the law school in 2021.

“This client had zero misconduct in his record, only accolades, and recommendations for promotions and medals. When he received a career ending back injury, he was told he would receive an Honorable Discharge, but was given a general discharge status instead. This status made him ineligible to receive his hard-earned military educational benefits,” explained Professor Christian. “Our client now plans to go to college to study agriculture and use that degree for a career to support his young family.”

Nachiket Sarvaiya, Dual 3L, wrote the memorandum that was presented to the Board of Corrections for Naval Records. “Professor Christian’s guidance and insight made it possible to achieve this goal for our veteran. I’m very grateful to have played a part in this successful outcome,” he said.

The VLC was established in 2008 and has secured over $4.5 million in back benefits for veterans since it opened. In addition to record corrections, students represent veterans, families, and survivors in obtaining pension, disability, compensation, and related benefits.

Detroit Mercy Law, inspired by the Jesuit and Mercy traditions, educates lawyers who are committed to the pursuit of justice, service to others, and the highest standards of the legal profession. The school’s clinical program is among the oldest in the United States, founded as the Urban Law Clinic in 1965. Today, in addition to the Veterans Law Clinic, the clinic program has expanded to operate twelve law clinics. Detroit Mercy Law students gain valuable legal skills and experience while providing thousands of hours of client services each year.

To learn more about Detroit Mercy Law’s clinics, visit