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VA Accreditation

CLE Hours: 6 including 6 General, 1 Ethics, 1 Professionalism, 0 Trial Practice

Ethics |  Professionalism
State Bar of Georgia - Atlanta, Georgia



  • Speakers, session times and credit hours are subject to change.
  • Ethics | Professionalism | Trial Practice

  • Presiding:
  • Drew Early, Program Chair; Shewmaker and Lewis, Atlanta, GA

  • In-person Registration

  • 8:30
  • Greeting
  • Julia Neighbors, ICLE Director, State Bar of Georgia, Atlanta, GA

  • 8:35
  • Welcome and Program Overview
  • Mike Prieto, Mil/Vet Section Chair, Prieto, Marigliano, Holbert & Prieto, LLC, Atlanta, GA

  • 8:40
  • Introduction
  • Drew Early, Speaker Chair, Shewmaker and Lewis, Sandy Springs, GA

  • 8:45
  • Basic Eligibility/Representation/Claims
  • Travis Studdard, Perkins Studdard, Carrollton, GA

  • 9:45
  • VA Pension and DIC
  • Victoria Watkins, The Law Office of Victoria Watkins, Marietta, GA

  • 10:45
  • Break

  • 10:55
  • Disability Compensation and Appeals
  • Keith Pflepsen, Woodall and Pflepsen, Albany, GA

  • 11:55

  • 12:40
  • Professionalism Professionalism
  • Major General Bill Dyer, Lee & Hayes, Dunwoody, GA

  • 1:40
  • Integrated Disability Evaluation System
  • Katherine Ingram, US Army, Columbus, GA

  • 2:10
  • Break

  • 2:20
  • Recent Updates on Veterans Law
  • Drew Early, Shewmaker and Lewis, Sandy Springs, GA

  • 2:50
  • VA Compensation and GA Family Law
  • Patty Shewmaker, Shewmaker and Lewis, Tucker, GA

  • 3:20
  • Ethics Ethics CLE Hour
  • Eric Ballinger, Ballinger Law, Canton, GA

  • 4:20
  • Adjourn


Mr. Michael Alexander Prieto Related seminars and products

Prieto Marigliano Holbert & Prieto LLC

Drew Early's Profile

Drew Early Related seminars and products

Shewmaker and Shewmaker

Drew N. Early was born in Harrisonburg VA.  Attended US Military Academy, West Point NY, graduating in 1979.  Served in US Army, to include service with XVIII ABN Corps, Second Infantry Division, Tenth Mountain Division, and Third Army.  Multiple deployments, including Haiti and several to the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Yemen, and the Emirates).

Graduate, with honors, US Army Command and General Staff College and follow-on attendance at US Army School of Advanced Military Studies, with an advanced degree in Strategic Planning.  Then multiple planning assignments in the Army, to include Third Army, focusing on the Middle East.  Received separate Master’s Degree in Management while on active duty. 

Graduate JD, cum laude, from Georgia State University and currently of counsel with Shewmaker and Shewmaker for probate and related matters, focused on veterans’ assistance and elder law.  Practicing veterans’ law since 2008.

-Adjunct professor at Emory University's College of Law.

-Executive Director of Emory School of Law’s Volunteer Clinic for Veterans. 


Accreditations and Admissions:

  • US Supreme Court
  • US Northern and Middle Districts of Georgia
  • US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims
  • Supreme Court and Court of Appeals for State of Georgia
  • Accredited to practice before the VA
  • Serving on DeKalb County Probate Court Court-Appointed list
  • Registered Mediator



  • The Elder Law Journal, Volume 18, Number 1, 2010
  • Proceedings, US Naval Institute, November 1997
  • GA Bar Journal
  • Frequent CLE contributor within GA and to national veterans advocacy groups—CLEs to National Organization of Veterans Advocates conferences in Washington DC, Chicago IL, Las Vegas NV, San Antonio TX, Portland OR, Providence RI, and others.  Separate CLEs in GA and VA.    


  • 2010 Marshall-Tuttle Award from State Bar of Georgia as outstanding lawyer for his service to military and veterans
  • Numerous US and foreign military awards and decorations


Professional Associations:

  • Past Chair, Military and Veterans Section of the State Bar of Georgia
  • National Organization of Veterans Advocates
  • National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
  • Veterans Benefits Practice and Development Council



  • VA cases in multiple US states and possessions, to include Guam and PR.
  • Expert witness, Georgia Office of State Administrative Hearings, 2009.
  • Nominee, US House of Representatives Veterans Affairs advisory sub-committee, Disability Compensation and Small Business Opportunities



Mr. J. Travis Studdard's Profile

Mr. J. Travis Studdard Related seminars and products

Perkins Studdard LLC

Travis Studdard is a partner at Perkins Studdard LLC in Carrollton where he practices workers’ compensation and veterans’ disability law with his brother-in-law, Jason Perkins.

Travis received his undergraduate degree in finance from the University of Georgia, where he was a First Honor Graduate. He went on to receive his law degree with honors from the University of Georgia School of Law in 2004. Upon graduation, Travis returned to the West Georgia area and began representing injured workers with a particular focus on catastrophic designation claims, which are similar to VA individual unemployability cases.

For the past few years, Travis’ practice has focused primarily on veterans’ disability law. Travis was a founder of the West Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, having served in various roles including President. He has also been very active over the years in the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association and in particular the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Claimants Lawyers Organization, having served a number of terms on the Board of Directors and as Education Chair. He is also a sustaining member of the National Organization of Veterans Advocates.

Outside of work, Travis is active in his local church, where he has taught Sunday school for a number of years and just completed his second two-year term as lay leader of the congregation. The rest of his time he is either at one of his kids’ sporting events, fishing, or watching his Georgia Bulldogs dominate the rest of the SEC and country.

Mr. William Brownell Dyer III's Profile

Mr. William Brownell Dyer III Related seminars and products

Lee & Hayes PLLC

Major General Bill Dyer is the Commanding General of the United States Army Reserve 108th Training Command, where he executes command and control over 8,000 Army Reserve Soldiers who perform Initial Entry Training for both enlisted and officers across the United States.  He earned his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the Virginia Military Institute in 1985 and his law degree from the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in 1992.  His military education includes a Masters in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College, as well as the Advanced Joint Professional Military Education course, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and the Judge Advocate Officer Basic and Advanced Courses.


MG Dyer was initially commissioned in the U.S. Air Force and served on the Base Engineering Staff at Lowry AFB, CO.  Following graduation from law school, he was commissioned in the Army and served four years on Active Duty at Ft. Gordon, GA as a Legal Assistance Attorney and Trial Defense Counsel.


After leaving Active Duty, MG Dyer joined the Army Reserve’s 213th Legal Support Organization and served in a variety of positions including Trial Counsel, Mobilization Officer, and Legal Assistance Attorney.  He was then selected to serve as Command Judge Advocate of the 416th Engineer Command’s Facility Engineer Center, Southeast.  In 2003, he was mobilized and deployed with the 416th FEC-SE as part of the 3d Infantry Division for the initial invasion of Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.


Following redeployment, MG Dyer became an International/Operational Law Attorney (DIMA) at FORSCOM, and was later selected to be the Staff Judge Advocate for the 3d Medical Command at Ft. Gillem, GA.  His following assignment was Staff Judge Advocate of the 335th Signal Command in East Point, GA.


In 2012, MG Dyer was selected to be the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3/5/7 for the U.S. Army Reserve Legal Command, where he oversaw all operational and training activities across the entire Command.  Following his tenure as G-3/5/7, MG Dyer took Command of the 153d Legal Operations Detachment in Philadelphia.  He relinquished command in 2015 to become the Deputy Commanding Officer – East of the U.S. Army Reserve Legal Command.  Upon promotion to Brigadier General, he was selected to be the Assistant Judge Advocate General for Military Law and Operations, with duty at the Pentagon.  While in this position, he did a second combat deployment, to Afghanistan, where he led the NATO effort to establish the Rule of Law in Afghanistan.  Upon his return to the United States, he transitioned from that position to become the Commanding General of the Army Reserve Legal Command.  He relinquished that command in October of 2022, upon promotion to Major General, to assume his current assignment.  His military awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Commendation Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Presidential Unit Citation, and the Combat Action Badge.


MG Dyer is a partner in the Atlanta office of Lee & Hayes, where he leads the firm’s intellectual property litigation practice, and primarily focuses on patent, trademark, and trade secret issues.  He has been nationally recognized by Chambers and Managing Intellectual Property as a leader in the intellectual property field and is a frequent lecturer on intellectual property topics.  He has been a faculty member of the National Trial Advocacy College at the University of Virginia School of Law since 2006.  He is a member of the Georgia Bar.

Mr. Eric Alvin Ballinger's Profile

Mr. Eric Alvin Ballinger Related seminars and products

The Law Office of Eric A Ballinger LLM PC

Eric Ballinger is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of John Marshall Law School, Atlanta, Georgia, in 1993 and an honors graduate with a Master of Laws in Litigation from Atlanta Law School in 1994.  He has practiced law on Main Street in Canton, Georgia since 1993 as a sole practitioner and “Main Street Lawyer” for nearly thirty years handling cases involving criminal defense, family law, child custody, corporate law, estates, and probate, as well as general litigation.  Mr. Ballinger is rated 10.0 out of 10.0 on Avvo, Av Rated by Martindale Hubble, and a Super Lawyer by Thomson Reuters. Eric Ballinger has served on the Board of Governors for the State Bar of Georgia for the past fifteen years, having served as the Chairman of the Military Legal Assistance Program from 2013 to 2019 as well as the Chair of the Law Practice Management oversight committee, the Member Benefits Committee, the Bench and Bar Committee, and the Wellness Committee.  Eric Ballinger is currently a part-time Judge in the Magistrate Court of Cherokee County.  Prior to attending law school, Eric Ballinger was commissioned through the Reserve Officer Training Corps as an Infantry officer and served on active duty as a platoon leader, training officer, company executive officer, and company commander. 


State Bar of Georgia

104 Marietta St. NW, 3rd Floor, Atlanta, Georgia 30303, United States
(404) 527-8700

Important Information

Please be advised that your credit will not be reported to the State Bar of Georgia CLE Regulation Department until after you have completed the steps necessary to earn credit for that program. 

Self reporting is required for all other jurisdictions.

The information presented is solely for educational purposes. The opinions expressed by the faculty in their materials and presentations are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the State Bar of Georgia, its officers, directors and/or employees. The faculty is not engaged in rendering legal or other professional advice and these presentations and publications are not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. All publications and presentations were created to serve the continuing legal education needs of practicing attorneys.

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