Stetson University

Faculty - Veterans Law Accreditation Training 2011

Program Chairs:

John Tuthill, The Florida Bar Military Affairs Committee
Thomas G. Bowman, VA VISN8 Senior Advisor
Charles H. Rose III, Professor of Excellence in Trial Advocacy and Director, Center for Excellence in Advocacy
Harold W. Youmans, Course Coordinator, The Law Offices of Harold Youmans

Presenters:

Christine Bhageloe, Assistant Public Defender, 9th Circuit, Orlando
Shelly Campbell, Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida
Michael S. Lane, Veterans Law Judge, Board of Veterans' Appeals
T. Edmund Spinks, VA Practitioner, Tampa


Christie Bhageloe is an assistant public defender and veterans' advocate in the Kissimmee office of the law offices of Robert Wesley, 9th Circuit public defender. Bhageloe is accredited by the Veterans Administration (VA) to represent veterans in benefits cases. She provides outreach to veterans who are incarcerated and helps them request military service records, challenge VA overpayment notices, and apportion benefits to dependents. The 9th Circuit Public Defender's Office won federal grant funding to host Osceola County's Veterans Stand Down on Nov. 11, 2011. Bhageloe graduated from the University of Florida Levin College Of Law in 2010.

Shelly Cambell is an attorney with Community Services of Mid-Florida Inc., and serves as veterans' advocate. Shelly began the Veterans Legal Advocacy Project at CLSMF two years ago and assists homeless and low-income veterans with VA claims, appeals, and discharge upgrades. Shelly is accredited with the VA, admitted to practice in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, and is a member of the National Organization of veterans Advocates (NOVA).

Michael S. Lane is a graduate of Florida State University and the University of Georgia School of Law. He is currently a member of the State Bar of Georgia. Lane began his career at the Board of Veterans' Appeals in 1999 as associate counsel. In 2005, he was selected to serve as special counsel to the Principal Deputy Vice Chairman Steve Keller. He eventually transitioned to serve as a senior counsel at the board, and, in April 2008, he was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as a veterans law judge with the Board of Veterans' Appeals.

T. Edmund Spinks is a sole practitioner in Tampa, Fla. He retired from the U.S. Marine Corps as a judge advocate with more than 25 years of service. Before practicing law, he served in the U.S. Army during the Gulf War as a nuclear, biological, and chemical sergeant. Spinks graduated from Florida State University College of Law. He is a member of The Florida Bar, The Hawaii Bar, the American and Hillsborough County bar associations, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and American Legion. Spinks is also admitted to practice in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.

John Tuthill is a solo practitioner in St. Petersburg, Fla., emphasizing family and military law. He is a retired Navy captain with more than 33 years combined active and reserve service. Tuthill graduated from Ohio Northern University College of Law with honors in 1972 and was a member of the Law Review. While on active duty with the Navy as a Judge Advocate (JAG), his tours of duty included teaching at the Naval Justice School and serving as a military trial judge. Upon leaving active duty, he became felony division director for the State Attorney's Office for the 6th Judicial Circuit. As a reservist, he was one of the first two Navy Reserve appellate military judges and then was on the staff of the Naval War College for eight years. Captain Tuthill held command seven times and served as the Navy's chief reserve lawyer for the southeastern United States. Tuthill received the Hugh Howell Award, the Navy's highest award for professionalism as an attorney and was also selected by The Florida Bar in 1998 as its outstanding military attorney as the recipient of the Clayton Burton Award. He is a court-qualified expert witness and consultant, speaker, and author on military-related family law issues and benefits. He presently is chair of The Florida Bar's Military Affairs Committee. He has represented military veterans before the Veterans Administration since 1985. As a pro bono advocate, he has obtained an estimated $14 million worth of past, present and future benefits for veterans and their families. He teaches the Veterans Appellate Advocacy Clinic at Stetson Law. He presently serves as chair of the Marital and Family Law Section of the St. Petersburg Bar Association.

Harold W. Youmans limits his practice to representation of military veterans and their families. Colonel Youmans served a total of 28 years in the U.S. Army including assignments at the Department of the Army Staff and the Joint Staff in Washington, D.C. He graduated from the University of Tampa (B.S., 1974), University of South Florida (M.S., with honors, 1976), and the University of Florida (J.D., with honors in legal writing, 1981). Colonel Youmans is a graduate of both the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and the Army War College. He is the holder of the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Bronze Star and the Combat Infantryman's Badge. He is the 1997 and 2009 recipient of The Florida Bar's Clayton B. Burton Award by and a former Chair of its Military Affairs Committee. He has practiced in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims for more than 10 years. Youmans currently serves as a hearing officer and special magistrate in several Florida counties and municipalities. 

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