American flag.

Thank You For Your Service

A Human Rights Conference for Veterans, Service Members, Their Families & Their Advocates

Too often, our conversations concerning legal services for Veterans do not get past the perfunctory statement of 'Thank you for your service.'

April 26, 2019

This conference brings together some of the nation’s leading Veterans’ advocates to discuss issues that are too often ignored in our conversations about Veterans and their families, including:

  • How to improve services for Veterans in the criminal justice system
  • How to best represent Veterans who were wrongfully assigned a less-than-honorable character of discharge
  • How best assist Veterans who are confronting alcoholism and/or substance abuse
  • How to prevent discrimination against Veterans in the workforce, in the housing market, and beyond
  • How to improve resources and services for women who serve in the Armed Forces, both during their military service and after their discharge from the military.
  • How to enhance outreach and service delivery to Veterans in populations that are often marginalized in our society, including (but not limited to) Veterans who are Native Americans, Veterans who are African-Americans, and Veterans who identify as LGBTQIA*. 

And much, much more.

On this page:

CLE: Attorneys who attend may receive 5.0 NYS CLE credits in the area of Professional Practice (transitional or non-transitional credit) and 1.5 NYS CLE credits in the area of Diversity, Inclusion and Elimination of Bias (non-transitional only) for a total of 6.5 credits for experienced attorneys, and 5.0 NYS CLE credits for newly admitted attorneys.


Co-sponsored by the New York State Division of Veterans' Services , the New York State Division of Human Rights, and the University at Buffalo School of Law, this conference offers valuable insights, strategies, connections, and inspirations for lawyers and non-lawyers alike, allowing us all to better serve the people who served our nation.

Agenda / List of Panels and Speakers

Registration 8:15-8:55 a.m.

Welcome/ Introductions: 8:55 a.m.

Panel 1: For All Who Served: Veterans' Advocates Overcoming Biases and Stereotypes in the Military and Veteran Arenas (9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.)

  • Diana Patton, We Exist Coalition  
  • Cheryl Dupris, American Indian Community House
  • Lynn Magistrale, Western New York Heroes
  • Morgan Woodson, New York State Division of Veterans' Services
  • Kim Diana Connolly, UB School of Law (moderator)

Panel 2: When They Come Home: Successful Re-Integration of Veterans in Civilian Employment and Civilian Life
(10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.)

  • Alyssa Vazquez, Joseph P. Dwyer Project 
  • Matejka Baumgartner, NYS Department of Labor 
  • Matthew Steele, Disability Rights NY
  • Anthony Kuhn, Tully Rinckey PLLC 
  • John Herrion, NYS Division of Human Rights (moderator)

Lunch & Community Resource Fair: 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

Panel 3: The Most Fundamental Right: Legal, Ethical, and Social Aspects of the Physical and Mental Health of Veterans
(1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.) 

  • Coco Culhane, Veteran Advocacy Project, Urban Justice Center
  • Brad Linn, Research Institute On Addictions 
  • Thomas Nochajski, Institute on Trauma & Trauma-Informed Care
  • J. Paul Noonan, New York State Office of Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Services
  • Tara Melish, Buffalo Human Rights Center (UB School of Law)

Panel 4: Justice For All: Advocacy For Veterans In Our Criminal Justice System
(2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.)

  • Hon. Robert Russell, Buffalo Veterans Treatment Court 
  • David Bentivegna, Prisoners' Legal Services of New York 
  • John Darcy, NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision
  • Patrick Welch, The Center for Veterans at Daemen College
  • Art Cody, Veterans Defense Program, New York State Defenders Association
  • Derek Coy, NY Health Foundation (moderator)

Closing Remarks 4:00 p.m.