Martin D. Parsons of the Southern Illinois University School of Law, Carbondale, is the IICLE® Spotlight Author for November. With 26 years of combined military service in the U.S. Marine Corps and the Illinois Army National Guard, Parsons is a particularly fitting selection for the month in which we especially honor military veterans with Veterans Day observances. Most recently, he has been a contributor to the IICLE® handbook Military Service and the Law (2018).
Parsons was first introduced to IICLE® resources as a student at SIU School of Law, where the college’s online subscription to the IICLE® Online Library became his “go-to resource” for introduction to new and different practice areas as he was considering his future practice. He continued consulting publications on into his faculty and Director positions at the law school and still touts the “practical knowledge combined with the Illinois-specific statute and case references” IICLE® provides.
Contributing as an author to the Military Service and the Law handbookprovided Parsons with the opportunity to “dig deeper” into subject matter directly impacting his practice. As the instructor of a law school class on veteran-specific legal issues including VA benefits and appeals, Parsons found the process of writing and researching his chapter on VA Benefits to be a personal learning experience as well as yielding material to share with his students. He has also been known to assign his civil practice students readings from various IICLE® publications, guiding them to IICLE® as a “starting point to research solid practice pointers and Illinois law on civil matters.”
Parsons serves as SIU’s Director of the Veterans’ Legal Assistance Program, which provides pro bono legal assistance to veterans in Southern Illinois who cannot afford or do not have access to legal representation. The program especially assists in the appeals of claims for compensation for service-connected disabilities with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and petitions for the upgrade of other-than-honorable discharges for former military members with post-traumatic stress, as well as victims of military sexual trauma. While VLAP does not assist with filing initial claims for VA benefits, the clinic does provide referral services for veterans facing those and other civil legal challenges.
In addition to his position as VLAP Director, he is also an adjunct professor at the SIU School of Law in Carbondale, as well as a member of the Illinois State and Jackson County Bar Associations and the Southern Illinois American Inns of Court. He is an alumnus of Western Illinois University and the SIU School of Law.