Burke: The Challenges and Responsibility of Representing Veterans

RPWB member Beth Burke led a continuing legal education session on representing veterans and military personnel at the Southern Trial Lawyers Association Annual Fall Conference in Louisville on Sept. 17.

The topic was especially important to Burke, who grew up not far from Charleston. Southern states produce 44 percent of our nation’s troops. Charleston is home to Joint Base Charleston and South Carolina is home to major military installations including Parris Island and Fort Jackson.

Burke is in the leadership of the national mass tort against 3M for supplying our nation’s military personnel with faulty earplugs from 2003 to 2015. The mass tort now includes more than 250,000 veterans and active military personnel from every branch who suffer from hearing loss and tinnitus. RPWB represents over 1,100 of those service members.

Her presentation focused on how representing service members and veterans is important, yet challenging given the nature of their jobs as well as federal case law that limits some civil avenues for justice.

“I always like to raise my hand to present at continuing legal education sessions, but this one felt extra important to me due it being so close to the 20th anniversary of 9-11 and the fact that our veterans have sacrificed so much for our nation,” Burke said. “I hope my presentation will help the lawyers in the room understand both the privilege and added responsibility of serving these heroes.”


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