The Honorable Helen Chong is a former Magistrate of the Supreme Court of Virginia. As a Magistrate, she conducted judicial hearings with petitioners seeking emergency custody orders or temporary detention orders and received training in mental health matters through the Virginia judicial system. She is one of the authors of the Veterans Benefits Manual, the nation’s leading treatise on veterans law. As a member of the Virginia Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division and Veterans Task Force Initiative, she collaborates with key stakeholders in Virginia to help address the legal needs of veterans in Virginia. Ms. Chong is a graduate of the University of Virginia (B.A.) and The George Mason University School of Law (J.D.). She is admitted to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC). Currently, Ms. Chong serves as an appellate attorney for veterans and represents them in cases against the US Department of Veterans Affairs at the CAVC.
Tristan Hood is an Air Force veteran who completed two tours in Baghdad, Iraq. After service, Tristan worked as a defense contractor in Bagram, Afghanistan. Since separating in 2011, Tristan has worked with various veteran and veteran affiliated groups and organizations including the National Veterans Legal Services Program, Student Veterans of America, Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America, Operation Stand Down, and different Blue and Gold Star organizations. He also worked with Senator Jack Reed from Rhode Island, speaking at a press conference after the successful passing of the Forever GI Bill. After Afghanistan, Tristan became heavily involved in veteran advocacy focused towards education. In the past, he served as President of the Brown University Student Veterans Society. Today, he is a member of the Ivy League Veteran Council and currently volunteers as a JD Ambassador for Service to School, an organization that helps veterans prepare for and apply to some of the country’s most elite schools. He is also a law student intern at Yale Law School Veterans Legal Services Clinic. Tristan graduated from Brown University and is a current 2L at Yale Law School.
Nicolle Vasquez Del Favero is an assistant attorney with Military Sealift Command under the Office of General Counsel for the Department of the Navy. Ms. Vasquez is a member of the Military Spouse Juris Doctor Network, serving on its nominating and pro bono committees, as well as helping with state bar rule change efforts regarding military spouse provisional admission policies. In addition, Ms. Vasquez is an active member of the Virginia State Bar, serving as the co-chair of the Wills For Heroes program as well as the Military Law Section liaison to the Young Lawyers Conference. Prior to her work with the Department of the Navy, Ms. Vasquez was one of 25 young lawyers chosen from across the nation to pursue public interest law during a two-year Skadden Fellowship. As a Skadden Fellow, Ms. Vasquez served as a staff attorney at the Domestic Violence Action Center in Hawaii, representing victims of domestic violence affiliated with the military in restraining order, divorce, and paternity cases. Ms. Vasquez is a graduate of the University of Florida and Northeastern University School of Law.