Richard Prebil ’17 is one of a select group of recent law graduates chosen as 2017 Equal Justice Works Fellows. This prestigious public interest fellowship is granted by Equal Justice Works, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a just society by mobilizing the next generation of lawyers committed to equal justice. Just 77 recent law graduates from 40 law schools were selected as a part of the program’s 2017 fellowship class.
Prebil will spend the next two years with the Military Assistance Project, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit that provides pro bono legal services for active duty, reserve component, or veteran military personnel and their widows/spouses. Through direct representation, education and outreach, he will advocate for and assist low-income veterans in applying for service-connected pension benefits and discharge upgrades.
“Like other court or administrative proceedings, the military’s discharge and benefit review procedures are extremely difficult to navigate if you have no background in veteran administrative law,” explained Prebil.
“There is a need for people with specialized training to help—and I believe that it is the duty of trained legal professionals to use their education to help those people who put their lives on the line so that we may live freely.”
Prebil’s passion for veterans’ rights guided his law school experience. As a student at Villanova Law, he immersed himself in coursework and experiential opportunities to prepare him for his career as a veterans’ rights advocate. Prebil was a PIFP Summer Fellow and extern with the Homeless Advocacy Project and participated in the Civil Justice Clinic.
“I took classes that helped me learn how to be a lawyer for these individuals. I participated in practical experiences that taught me not only the law, but the day-to-day operations of a public interest lawyer.”
Prebil is resolute in his dedication to assisting those who serve our country.
“A veteran is a person who signed a blank check to the US for an amount up to and including their lives. For me, there is no reason that a person who so freely gave up their lives in service of our country, should ever have to wonder where their next meal is going to come from or whether they will have a place to sleep at night.”