David Paul ’24 wins the David A. Grossman Exemplary Clinical Student Award

Originally Posted in Harvard Law Today: Story by Olivia Klein

David Paul ’24 is the recipient of the 2024 David A. Grossman Exemplary Clinical Student Award. Paul is honored for his exceptional achievements in the Veterans Law and Disability Benefits Clinic of the Legal Services Center (LSC) and the Criminal Prosecution Clinic, where he has “embodied the very best of clinical education.”

The award honors David Grossman ’88, beloved late clinical professor, faculty director of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, and previously LSC clinical instructor, who devoted his life to the pursuit of justice. As an attorney and mentor, Grossman was committed to building partnerships within the community, guiding clinical students, and tirelessly advocating for social change. This award is presented in Grossman’s memory to a student who demonstrates outstanding expertise in representation and policy reform initiatives and shows a clear capacity for thoughtfulness and empathy in their practice.

David Paul '24
David Paul ’24 Credit: Lorin Granger

“I feel hugely honored to win the David Grossman Exemplary Clinical Student Award,” says Paul. “I remember early in my 1L year feeling so inspired by the 2Ls and 3Ls who devoted themselves to helping real people with real problems, even while managing all the stress of law school and their own internship and job applications. I knew that I wanted to spend as much of my 2L and 3L years as I could helping others and ‘learning by doing.’”

Paul did just that in the Veterans Law and Disability Benefits Clinic, beginning the fall of his second year of law school. Over the course of three semesters in the clinic, Paul participated in multiple project areas — the Veterans Justice Project and the Estate Planning Project — where he mastered multiple bodies of law and lawyering skills, forging trusting client relationships and becoming a valued colleague for students and clinicians alike.

“I came to law school from a previous career in the performing arts, where I was inspired by the passion people brought to their work, but increasingly frustrated by the power structures that prevented accountability and fair working conditions,” he reflects. “At the clinic, I felt like I found my answer: a team full of passion and belief in human potential, driven by a mission of fairness and accountability, and with a fighting spirit in service of that mission.”

In his first semester in the clinic, Paul and fellow clinic student Nathan Lowry ’24 brought about systemic reforms at the Veterans Administration (VA) for thousands of LGBTQ+ military families. The team represented the widower of a veteran who had been denied survivor benefits, arguing that VA violated the right to due process and equal protection in their refusal to recognize the couple’s commitment despite being unable to be legally married pre-Obergefell. Paul built a close relationship with the client, conducted many hours of legal research, drafted a settlement memo, and negotiated with seasoned VA attorneys to obtain a favorable settlement agreement for his client. More than that, the settlement spurred wholesale reforms to VA’s policy on benefit eligibility for same-sex survivors of veterans where state discriminatory laws prevented couples from marrying before 2015.

For more on the Veterans Clinic : HERE And for the original story: HERE


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