Yelena Duterte is an Associate Teaching Professor and the Director of Syracuse University College of Law’s Wohl Family Veterans Legal Clinic. As Director of the clinic, Yelena supervises students in their representation of veterans and their families in pursuit of discharge upgrades, VA healthcare, and VA benefits, including compensation, GI Bill benefits, and pension benefits. In addition to teaching in the clinic, she teaches a veterans law course focused on the administrative procedures within the Department of Veterans Affairs. She also coaches an appellate team that competes in the National Veterans Law Moot Court Competition.
Yelena joined Syracuse in January 2015 from The John Marshall Law School, where she was the Assistant Director of the nationally recognized Veterans Legal Support Center & Clinic (VLSC). In addition to practicing veterans law, she worked on cases that involved the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and family law. During her tenure at the VLSC, she worked under a Department of Justice grant in federal and state court. Under that grant, she helped veterans facing criminal charges in Cook County’s felony Veterans Treatment Court program and Northern District of Illinois’ Federal Enclave Misdemeanor court call.
Yelena is a Board member and Treasurer of the National Law School Veterans Legal Clinic Consortium, a non-profit organization that creates an infrastructure for collaboration among non-profit legal clinics serving veterans around the nation.
She is also a board member of the New York State Discharge Upgrade Advisory Board. Created in 2018, New York State’s Discharge Upgrade Advisory Board can provide a non-binding advisory opinion to Veterans with discharge upgrade appeals, when a majority of the Board’s members deem it to be meritorious.
Yelena regularly speaks on veterans law topics and provides training to other law schools on creating successful veterans clinics.