“The clinic helped do something for me in six months that I had been trying to do by myself for years. Some veterans give up on trying to get their benefits because the VA makes it such a long and confusing process, but the clinic gave me a huge relief because I knew I wasn't doing it alone anymore.” — U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army Veteran
Approximately 167,000 veterans currently reside in West Virginia, many with acute
and unique legal needs related to their military service or return to civilian
life. In the clinic, law students have the opportunity to represent the West Virginia
veterans in litigation before administrative agencies and courts on benefits, discharge
upgrades, employment claims and other civil matters. In addition, students can
represent local and national organizations in non-litigation matters relating to
the legal needs of veterans, including regulatory and legislative reform efforts,
media advocacy, and strategic planning.
The clinic works with partners to develop new projects aimed at expanding legal services to West Virginia veterans. Such works-in-progress include:
- A collaboration with the United States District Court, the United States Attorney’s Office, and the Federal Office of Probation and Parole for the Northern District of West Virginia in which clinic students will represent veterans on Central Violations Bureau (CVB) matters in federal district court; and
- A collaboration with several of the other WVU School of Law clinics, including the General Practice, Child and Family Advocacy, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Law Clinics, and Innocent Project as well as the United States District Court, the United States Attorney’s Office, and the Federal Office of Probation and Parole for the Northern District of West Virginia in which our clinical students will provide holistic legal services to West Virginia ex-offenders, including ex-offenders who have honorably served our country. The Project aims to assist ex-offenders to successfully navigate the myriad state laws and policies that serve as legal barriers to re-entry in the areas of employment, public housing, public benefits, voting, access to criminal records, expungement, adoptive and foster parenting, and drivers licenses.
Importantly, the Veterans Advocacy Law Clinic provides legal services to veterans via the WVU Clinical Law Program’s long-standing and innovative cooperative affiliation with the Louis A. Johnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Clarksburg, WV. This program supports the VA’s Homeless Veterans Legal Referral Process, which is designed to prevent homelessness by connecting eligible veterans with legal services as an alternative to incarceration or other traditional criminal sanctions.
If you are interested in volunteering with the WVU Veterans Advocacy Law Clinic in any capacity, or know a veteran in need of services, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at your convenience.