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Nutter Associate Receives Civil Rights Pro Bono Recognition Award

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Jessica Alfano Powell recognized for her work for veterans by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights
June, 23, 2015

Nutter announced today that Jessica Alfano Powell, an associate in the firm’s Real Estate Department, received the Civil Rights Pro Bono Recognition Award from the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice for exceptional legal work that led to an important precedent-setting decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims in favor of her client. The outcome of the case will make it easier for veterans to receive coverage for service-related tinnitus.

“We are very proud of Jessica not only for winning a very important appeal before this particular court on behalf of her client, but also because she achieved this by providing needed pro bono legal support to veterans in need,” said Kenneth R. Berman, chair of Nutter’s Pro Bono Committee. “This decision will bring important benefits to Jessica’s client and countless other veterans who face similar service-related injuries health issues.”

The appeal was filed on behalf of a U.S. Army veteran whose hearing was injured in a training exercise during service. The injury resulted in a hearing loss, as well as tinnitus, a chronic ringing in the ears that often develops from exposure to loud sounds. While his hearing loss had been deemed service-connected and related to the incident, he was unable to access benefits for his tinnitus due to the burden of proving that that condition was also service-connected. But the appeal decision, Fountain v. McDonald, established that his tinnitus was service-connected and now stands as precedent that should enable other veterans with similar service-connected injuries to establish their entitlement to benefits.

Powell is one of 14 Nutter attorneys who participated in a regional training program, held at Nutter and offered by the National Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program, which provided preparation for trying cases related to veterans’ issues. Nutter also partners with a number of other pro bono service organizations as part of the firm’s commitment to providing legal services to those in need.

About Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP
Nutter is a top tier Boston-based law firm that provides strategic legal counsel to clients who range from major corporations and leading institutions to early stage companies, foundations, and private clients. The firm was co-founded by Louis D. Brandeis who was an early advocate of pro bono work and is recognized as a pioneer in the field of pro bono legal service.

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