Matthew Handley ’22 Selected for Prestigious Equal Justice Works Post-Graduate Fellowship
By Lori Borgen
After graduation, CSJ Scholar Matthew Handley ’22, will start a fellowship at the National Veterans Legal Services Program in Washington, D.C., sponsored by Lockheed Martin Corp., as part of the Equal Justice Works Design Your Own Fellowship program. Since 1986, Equal Justice Works has facilitated opportunities for law students and lawyers to pursue public service and equal justice. Candidates for the Design Your Own Fellowship develop a project to address an unmet legal need and underserved community and then identify a host organization. Law firms, corporations, private foundations, and individual donors sponsor the fellows. In 2022, 84 public interest advocates were selected nationally from a pool of 385 applicants for this prestigious fellowship.
"When I was a soldier, I swore to never leave a fallen comrade. Now, as a veteran, I plan to fulfill that oath by using my skills as a lawyer to help my comrades obtain the benefits they have earned."
Matthew Handley ’22
After a nine-year career on active duty in the U.S. Army, Handley came to Seton Hall Law School to learn how to make a deeper impact on his community and develop skills that would allow him to fight for social justice and systemic change, particularly on behalf of his fellow veterans. During law school, he served as a Scholar with the Center for Social Justice and as a Fellow in the Veterans Legal Services Program at the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization at Yale Law School, among numerous other accomplishments.
Each year, the military fails to medically retire servicemembers who experience serious physical and mental health conditions, including the “signature wounds” of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). The focus of Handley’s project is to identify veterans who should have been medically retired and work to bring them retroactive medical retirement claims. He also will be pursuing systemic reforms to address the problem. In describing his project on the Equal Justice Works website, Handley noted: “When I was a soldier, I swore to never leave a fallen comrade. Now, as a veteran, I plan to fulfill that oath by using my skills as a lawyer to help my comrades obtain the benefits they have earned.”