Nebojsa “Vic” Zlatanovic, ESQ
- State of New Jersey
- U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims
- New Jersey State Bar Association
- American Bar Association
- Federal Bar Association
- Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims Bar Association
- Rutgers University, B.A.
- Rutgers Eagleton Institute of Politics, Undergraduate Associate
- Seton Hall Law School, J.D.
- Outstanding Clinician Award for Juvenile Justice Clinic, Seton Hall Law School, 2009
- Borough of Haledon Commendation, 2012
- City of East Orange Veterans Day Keynote Speaker, 2016
- Legislative Achievement Award, New Jersey State Bar Association, 2019
In 2002, Vic enlisted in the U.S. Army as an infantryman and went to basic training and airborne school at Fort Benning. He was assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade, based in Vicenza, Italy. While in the 173rd, he served in a line company and was later assigned to the battalion’s scout platoon. He was deployed to Iraq in 2003-2004, where he participated in tactical operations in urban and rural settings in Kirkuk Province. He deployed to Afghanistan in 2005-2006, where he participated in counterinsurgency operations in southeastern Afghanistan along the Pakistani border. He was trained on a variety of weapons systems, radio communications and first aid, and participated in nighttime raids and cordon and search operations.
After he left active duty, he went to Seton Hall Law School. After law school, Vic clerked for Hon. Michael Petrolle of the Essex County Vicinage Criminal Division of the New Jersey Superior Court. After his clerkship ended, Vic was accredited by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and admitted to practice before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims in 2011 and became an advocate for veterans. He has represented veterans and family members before the VA and the Social Security Administration prior to joining Gang & Associates, and he has experience working with former prisoners.
One memorable event in Vic’s life was his efforts along with other veterans to lobby for a statewide veterans’ diversion program to connect veterans involved in the criminal justice system with valuable resources in lieu of incarceration. This reminded Vic of the esprit de corps he witnessed in the 173rd, because veterans banded together to help other veterans who needed their help.
Vic considered the original proposal a watered-down idea, and he thought it needed substantial revision. Legislative hearing after hearing, he and other veterans spoke to lawmakers about the changes that needed to be made, and the proposal was expanded to become a broader permanent statewide program. This reform was one of the largest changes benefiting veterans in New Jersey since World War Two, and it was cited as an example for other proposed reforms. For these efforts, the New Jersey State Bar Association awarded Vic with its annual legislative achievement award. In addition, Vic is a past chair of the state bar’s Military Law and Veterans Affairs Section, and he organized the 2019 Annual Veterans Law Symposium in New Jersey, one of the largest continuing legal education seminars for veterans’ advocates in the Tri-State Area.
Vic has also met and spoken with members of Congress to raise awareness of mefloquine toxicity as part of a 2017 fellowship program through High Ground Veterans Advocacy, a not-for-profit organization. Mefloquine was issued to servicemembers deployed to Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan, and is known to heighten the risk of serious neuropsychiatric symptoms, including insomnia, dizziness and vertigo, memory and concentration, and anxiety. Vic doesn’t believe that the VA fully acknowledges the effects of mefloquine toxicity, and he believes that there needs to be better information-sharing between the VA and the military as to the extent to which mefloquine was distributed and problems related to screening procedures for contraindications. A report by the National Academies of Sciences on mefloquine released in early 2020 pointed out that there needs to be more research into the long-term effects of mefloquine, something that reminds Vic of the federal government’s early delays in recognizing the effects of Agent Orange exposure. The sooner Congress gets behind efforts to better understand mefloquine, the better it will be for veterans and their healthcare providers.
In addition, Vic has served on several boards, including the Manchester Utilities Authority, Haledon Board of Education, 173rd Airborne Brigade Association, Welcome Home Vets Fund of New Jersey, and New Jersey Youth Theatre. Vic is a graduate of Rutgers, The State University, where he was an undergraduate associate at the Eagleton Institute of Politics.
- U.S. Army, Active Duty, 2002-2006, including: 173rd Airborne Brigade, 2003‑2006
- Deployments to northern Iraq and Paktika Province, Afghanistan
- CIB, ARCOM, GCM, Parachutist Badge, Iraq Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal