ICLC Spotlight: Homeless Veterans Project Staff Attorney, Jon Killoran

About Jon Killoran

Jon Killoran grew up in Los Angeles and earned his law degree from Loyola Law School. During his time in law school, he was awarded a scholarship through the school’s Public Interest Scholars Program. As a recipient of this award, Jon was able to provide legal services to homeless and low-income clients. In his spare time, Jon enjoys going to the beach, spending time with his dog Charlie and cheering on Los Angeles sports teams like the Dodgers and Lakers.

Why did you decide to pursue public interest law? More specifically, what about veterans law interests you?
When I graduated from college, I spent a year working with the Jesuit Volunteer Corp. – an organization similar to AmeriCorps or the Peace Corps – which allows people to work and live in vulnerable communities. During my time with JVC, I worked in a homeless shelter, which was both eye-opening and life-giving. I learned from the men and women at the shelter. Working there allowed me to feel connected to a job, people and town in a way that I hadn’t before. I wanted to help these men and women plan for long-term stability and success.
I saw law school as a way to help others find long-term safety and stability.
One of the first things I did when I began working at ICLC was working at the Volunteers of America shelter in Hollywood. I was working with and learning from these young men who had gone to Iraq and Afghanistan. I wanted to help them move to stability.

How did you hear about Inner City Law Center? What made you want to work here?
I first heard of ICLC through the student chapter of the “National Lawyers Guild” at Loyola Law School. The student who led the NLG had previously interned at ICLC and I applied because of that. I interned with ICLC in the summer of 2011, and also during my second year of law school. I was awarded the Equal Justice Works Fellowship which allowed me to establish the medical-legal partnership that we currently have established at the West LA VA campus.

You see and hear a lot of things come through your desk and office every day. A new client, a new story, a new case to solve. What keeps you motivated to do the work you do?
The relationships I’m able to build with my clients keep me going. The cases are usually not easily or quickly resolved. We are often the first time the client has had communication with an attorney or a working relationship with an attorney. I feel a great responsibility in helping them meet their goals, feel heard and feel empowered. When this happens, you see it pay off for the client and also for us at the end, because we get to collaborate on what makes the most sense for them.

What is one of your greatest accomplishments here at ICLC?
I think the biggest overarching accomplishment has been the success of the medical-legal partnership. It is a holistic approach – a collaboration between case managers, doctors and lawyers to share a patient base of people who are vulnerable in a variety of ways. The patients often have medical issues, legal issues, and financial issues, and we get to help them stabilize their lives and also develop relationships at the VA on the health side of things.

What advice do you have for aspiring ICLC attorneys?
My best advice is to volunteer and work hand-in-hand with the community you want to serve. At ICLC we meet with clients where they are at. The medical-legal partnership meets at the VA campus in the Emergency Room every week. We also have a tenant organizing team that meets with clients at their homes often in uninhabitable buildings to help them advocate for safe and healthy housing.

I started my career first as a Jesuit volunteer and this direct service work got me interested in law school and led to my Equal Justice Work Fellowship project. Have experience working directly with the community and people you will be serving. And that’s particularly easy to do in Los Angeles; there’s a lot of places to roll up your sleeves and volunteer.