Putting the M21-1 to Use for Veterans: How to Leverage VA’s Internal Guidance to Win More Cases at the Regional Office
Tamesha Larbi, Esq.
Rebecca Deming, Esq.
December 13, 2023, and January 11, 2024
2:00 pm ET
This series will consist of two pre-recorded sessions you can access before and after the two live sessions.
First session (pre-recorded, release date TBA): What is the M21-1? In this pre-recorded session, you’ll get a comprehensive overview of the VA’s adjudication procedures manual (the M21-1) relied on by agency adjudicators. This session will provide an overview of:
- The role of the M21-1 in the processing, handling, and adjudication of veteran benefit claims.
- How to electronically access the M21-1.
- How provisions are organized in the M21-1.
- How to search and navigate the provisions of the M21-1.
- How to access prior versions of M21-1 provisions.
Second session, December 13, 2023: Using the M21-1 to Demystify Adjudication Procedure and Get Things Done
Advocates are always seeking ways to get the VA to listen. This live course will cover strategies for using and leveraging M21-1 provisions to not only get the VA to course correct when procedural roadblocks arise but also to effectively engage with VA to keep the veteran’s claim on the right track.
Third session, January 11, 2024: Using the M21-1 to Make Your Case Heard
Citing only case law falls flat when presented to VA adjudicators. Advocates need to make use of case precedents, statutes, and regulations to convey legal standards and requirements relative to the review and adjudication of veteran benefit claims and decision review request. If you’ve ever wondered how to package complex veterans benefits legal concepts and present them to VA in an authoritative and digestible way, this live session will cover the M21-1 substantive provisions that correlate to legal authorities.
Fourth session (pre-recorded, release date TBA): Resolving Conflict Between the M21-1 and Other Authorities
What do you do when veterans benefits law statutes, regulations, and case precedents say one thing and the M21-1 says something completely different? When is the guidance in the M21-1 an impermissible substantive rule and what should advocates do about it? This pre-recorded session will cover the lifecycle of updates to the M21-1 and explore some modern-day conflicts, with examples of how to resolve them in the veteran’s favor.
Tamesha N. Larbi, Esq., is a solo attorney and owner of Larbi Legal, a boutique law firm providing skilled legal advocacy to veterans and their families pursuing long-overdue veterans benefits. She provides representation before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, and the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, and various service discharge and records review boards. She is a decorated combat veteran who retired after 23 years of service. Her military career encompassed service in the U.S. Army JAG Corps as a court reporter and trial defense service paralegal before she later commissioned as a JAG officer. She later served as a U.S. Army Reserve JAG officer with mobilization tours as Trial Counsel for the Military District of Washington, Litigation Attorney for the U.S. Army Legal Services Agency, and as a Physical Evaluation Board (PEB) Attorney with the U.S. Army Medical Command’s Office of Soldier’s Counsel.
Rebecca Deming, Esq., attended Cornell University, and University of Miami School of Law, where she graduated cum laude and magna cum Laude respectively. Her early career was influenced by her desire to contribute to the global war on terror. After working for two large international law firms, she joined the US Agency for International Development in 2011 and headed to Afghanistan to work on Rule of Law issues in support of US and NATO troops. After Afghanistan, Rebecca continued her work with military units on pre-deployment and general readiness training and exercise design, working with DoD, NATO, and the Department of State on post-conflict stabilization, peace support operations, counter-corruption, strategic communications, information operations, and human rights. Rebecca has been accredited with VA since her husband retired from the Navy in 2017. She opened her law practice, ProVet Legal, P.A., in 2021. She is an active member of the Military Spouse JD Network, and President of the Pinellas County Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers.
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