Unique collaboration pairs law student veterans and volunteer attorneys
The University of Texas School of Law’s Texas Law Veterans Association (TLVA), with support from the William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law and Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas (VLS), will offer a free legal clinic for low-income veterans and service members on Friday, October 2, 2009, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at the Travis County Veterans Service Office, 100 N. IH35, #2400. Veterans seeking advice should sign in between 9:00 and 10:30 a.m.
Volunteer attorneys recruited by Volunteer Legal Services will provide free legal advice and help on civil matters to low-income active-duty service members, National Guard reservists, veterans, and their immediate families. Attendees will be seen on a walk-in basis and can expect to spend about fifteen minutes receiving advice from an attorney. Typical advice ranges from military benefits to general housing, family law, and consumer issues. Law students will assist veterans in completing intake paperwork and clarifying the legal issue for which veterans need advice. Cases not resolved at the clinic will be reviewed to see if further legal services can be provided at no charge.
“Our mission at Volunteer Legal Services is to ensure that poverty is not a barrier to justice,” said Trish McAllister, executive director of VLS. “This collaboration allows us the opportunity to extend our services to this most deserving community, many of whom do not have the financial resources to pay a lawyer.”
This is the third such clinic provided through the collaboration between TLVA, VLS, the Travis County Veterans Service Office, and UT Law’s William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law. TLVA is a registered student organization at the University of Texas School of Law whose purpose is to act as an advocate for veterans, disseminate information on veterans benefits, and create a networking forum for those who support veterans.
“The Veterans Legal Clinics were created based on the awareness of the need for pro-bono legal services for military veterans,” said Cody Cheek, ’10, TLVA president and a first lieutenant in the United States Army. “As law students, our members cannot provide legal advice themselves, but, by partnering with volunteer attorneys, we are able to provide a platform for these services. It takes a lot of work, planning, and coordination to put on a clinic, but if we are able to make a difference in the life of just one veteran, then I feel like all our efforts are justified.”
Tosha Mayo, Texas Law Veterans Association, (513) 604-6835, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tina Fernandez, William Wayne Justice Center at UT Law, (512) 232-6170, email@example.com