An international gathering of judges, lawyers, social workers, psychiatrists, psychologists, veterans and caregivers will bring to Hawai‘i new perspectives and insights on issues facing elders - especially elder veterans - for two full days in November.
The “International Elder Law Conference with a Veterans Focus” will be held Nov. 12 and 13 at the Hale Koa Hotel in Waikiki, presented by the University of Hawai‘i Elder Law Program (UHELP) at the William S. Richardson School of Law.
The first panel will explore practice and ethical issues in filing claims for benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs and in representing clients before the federal Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims as well as in states’ Veterans Courts. Other conference topics will range from the latest health care and legal perspectives on psychological issues veterans may face due to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury, to specialized problems dealt with by military families who suffer high divorce rates.
Army Lieutenant Colonel Arthurine Jones, a veteran of the Iraq War, who now works extensively with homeless women veterans in the Chicago area, will be the keynote speaker on the first day of the conference.
University of Hawai‘i Professor Emerita Beverly Keever will present a keynote address on the second day, speaking about her experiences as a reporter covering the Vietnam War as chronicled in her book, “Death Zones and Darling Spies: Seven Years of Vietnam Reporting.”
Law Prof. and UHELP Director James Pietsch, who is also a veteran, said the gathering will offer a wide range of cutting-edge research regarding both the treatment of veterans and their legal and emotional needs. It is especially aimed at legal service providers, caregivers and agencies that provide critically important services to the nation’s men and women who have served their country in conflicts going back to World War II as well as those who are currently serving.
“This will be a good start to get the professionals together to see how we can coordinate services to veterans and their care-givers,” said Pietsch.
Co-sponsors include the Elder Law Section of the Hawai‘i State Bar Association and the Legal Aid Society of Hawai‘i, with additional support from the Stetson University College of Law.
The conference will offer continuing education credits for lawyers and social workers. It opens with a pre-conference luau at the Hale Koa Hotel Luau Gardens.
Law Dean Avi Soifer noted that the Law School already has and will continue to play an important role in providing services and assistance for veterans who have returned from service in need of help, as well as for elders generally who need advocates.
“We are very proud of the Law School’s Elder Law program, UHELP” Soifer said. “This conference, in which they have taken the lead, is yet another example of their unstinting commitment to the greater good.”
Conference panelists are expected to cover some of the latest research from international and U.S. experts on topics that include:
- Ethical issues and practice before Veterans Courts at the federal and state levels.
- Women in the military and women veterans’ special issues.
- Brain injury and psychological issues affecting veterans.
- International perspectives on elder law and older immigrants.
- Legal and ethical responses to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury, dementia and other psychological issues.
- Special needs planning and divorce issues in military families.
- Setting up Law School Veterans’ Clinics and Veterans Law Practices.
Online conference registration is available at: www.hawaii.edu/uhelp/conference.
Registration fee is $200; the veterans/non-profit fee is $150; while the law student fee is $75. The one-day fee is $100. Sponsorships for veterans, caregivers and students are welcome.