Cultural Competency in Representing Veterans



The California Women’s Law Center in partnership with the Veterans Legal Institute gave a workshop to civilian attorneys about the unique aspects of military culture and how to familiarize yourself with the service and language “Do’s and Don’ts” to help attorneys connect with their clients in a way that builds trust. Attendees also learned about common civilian biases and assumptions, including those involving gender and women in the military.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.

LA Law Library

301 W. First Street

Los Angeles, CA 90012


The workshop covered:

Specific knowledge needed to bridge the gap between civilian and military experience

•Building trust with veteran clients

•Developing a working vocabulary and following language “Do’s and Don’ts”

•How to become more effective advocates for this demographic of the population

•Representing veterans on a pro bono basis

Attendees could have earned 1 hour Elimination of Bias MCLE credit

Registration fee: $35

Download the event flyer


Presented by Laura Riley and Dwight Stirling:

Laura Riley is a Staff Attorney at the California Women’s Law Center. She has worked as a public interest attorney, primarily in the areas of health, disability rights and employment law. She served as a clerk for Judge Patrick Robinson, head of the joint appellate court for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. She is a member of the Pro Bono Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Barristers and serves on the Board of Directors of the Legal Aid Association of California. A graduate of USC Law School, she received her undergraduate degree from Barnard College, Columbia University.


Dwight Stirling is CEO and Co-Founder of the Veterans Legal Institute. Mr. Stirling, a Major in the Army National Guard, joined the military directly after September 11, 2001, taking a leave of absence from his civilian law practice to attend basic combat training. In 2007, he closed his law firm to serve as General Counsel of the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos. Since 2010, Mr. Stirling has also been the Chief of Criminal Law for the California National Guard, overseeing all high profile courts-martial state-wide and prosecuting sexual assault perpetrators.