Jessica O’Connell (Scalia Law ’13)

M-VETS SA 2013

Jessica O’Connell is an Associate Counsel at the Board of Veterans Appeals (“BVA”) and 2013 Scalia Law graduate. Not only was Ms. O’Connell a former M-VETS Student Advisor, but she served as an Adjunct Professor for the program after her graduation. A 2005 graduate of the University of Connecticut with degree in political science, Ms. O’Connell attended law school after working several years as a paralegal and legal secretary for various law firms.

During her time in M-VETS, Ms. O’Connell assisted with a successful appeal of a BVA decision to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. She credits M-VETS with providing a foundation in veterans law which helped her get her start at the BVA—a job she describes as challenging and fulfilling. Her position is akin to a law clerk, reviewing evidence and writing legal opinions for an Administrative Law Judge primarily in the area of disability compensation claims.

Ms. O’Connell advises law students interested in a career in veterans law to get as much practical experience as possible and make connections early. She encourages students to attend conferences and seminars in the niche subject area of veterans law for learning and networking purposes.