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November 11, 2016

At their Annual Meeting each year, the Defense Research Institute (DRI) selects a recipient for the Veterans Network Meritorious Service Award. The recipient must be a DRI member who has served honorably as a member of the United States Armed Forces or the United States Coastguard and has distinguished him or herself by exemplary service to other veterans, their country, foreign jurisdictions or in the legal profession. Butler Weihmuller Katz Craig is proud to announce that Partner John Garaffa earned this prestigious award for his active duty service and post-service pro bono legal work on behalf of veterans. 

During his 21 years, John served on active duty for twenty-one years as a member of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, United States Navy. Among other assignments, Mr. Garaffa served as the Deputy Assistant Judge Advocate General (Civil Affairs), Deputy Assistant Judge Advocate General (Information Resources)/CIO and, during his last four years of military service, the senior criminal court trial judge of the Southeast Judicial Circuit of the Navy-Marine Corps Trial Judiciary.

After leaving active duty, John continued to help fellow veterans while at Butler. One of John’s pro bono cases involved a Marine who had service-connected hearing loss. John prevailed in having the decision of the Board of Veterans Appeals reversed. The Court of Appeals for Veteran’s Claims found the Marine’s disability to be service-connected resulted in increased disability payments and a check for back pay. John’s pro bono work has resulted in a number of decisions that have had a positive impact on both his client’s and other veterans.

In explaining the importance of pro bono work John advised, “I think as lawyers we enjoy a great deal of success. No one is a truly self-made person. We all depend on the work of everyone else in society. That society is what these veterans have worked so hard to preserve for all of us. When some of these veterans now find themselves unable to defend themselves, it is our obligation to do so.”

John Garaffa received the Veterans Network Meritorious Service Award while on stage at DRI’s Annual Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts in front of many colleagues, clients and friends. John’s continuing contribution as a veteran and to veterans reflects the highest traditions of both the Navy and the Firm.