Baylor Law School awarded grant for Veteran Assistance clinic

Posted at 9:08 PM, Jul 03, 2015
and last updated 2018-09-12 12:38:35-04

A $2,150 grant from the State Bar of Texas will benefit a Baylor Law School clinic that provides free legal counsel to veterans. The grant will pay for iPads for students to use during their sessions with veterans. The advice most veterans need is brief, but some will need ongoing representation, and the grant will allow the volunteering law students to be more efficient and gain more experience.

Full Press Release below:

WACO, Texas (July 1, 2015) — For the first time in Baylor Law School history, the State Bar of Texas has awarded a grant to support and foster the ongoing effort of the Baylor Law School Veterans’ Assistance Clinic to provide Texas military veterans free legal counsel. 

With more than 19,000 veterans residing in McLennan County – adjacent to Fort Hood, the largest U.S. Army installation in the world – there is a great need to provide pro bono legal services to a well-deserving segment of the Central Texas community. 

Baylor Law’s clinics are held monthly at the Veterans One Stop Center in downtown Waco. The clinics allow veterans faced with legal issues the opportunity to meet with both a Baylor Law student and volunteer attorney for advice. 

“Since we started the clinic in 2012, we have seen hundreds of veterans in need of legal counsel come through the clinic,” said Bridget Fuselier, professor of law and director of Baylor Law School’s Veterans’ Assistance Clinic. “It’s a great opportunity to give back to our community.” 

The $2,150 grant – awarded in May by the litigation section of the State Bar – comes in response to a request to provide technology equipment to Baylor’s Veterans’ Assistance Clinic in its effort to assist community veterans. 

“Through this grant money, we will be able to purchase iPads for the program,” said Stephen Rispoli, director of student relations and pro bono programs at Baylor Law School. “We believe the law practice of the future will be heavily focused on the mastery of new technology. Our desire is to incorporate this technology to not only be more efficient, but to provide an innovative learning experience for our students.” 

In most instances, brief advice is all that’s needed. However, in more complex situations, veterans may have their legal situation assessed and receive ongoing representation. In these cases, Baylor Law students will partner with local volunteer attorneys or Baylor Law faculty members. 

These partnerships not only help the veterans with their legal issues but also provide more than 150 volunteer law students an opportunity to gain valuable experience working with clients while inspiring them to appreciate public service work. 

“Since I’ve been working with the Veterans’ Clinic, I’ve been privileged to help many of my fellow military members with a variety of legal issues from consumer protection to family law,” said Lt. J.G. Mark Altman, a third-year Baylor Law School student and Veterans’ Clinic coordinator. “The veterans in our community have sacrificed a lot for this country, and it’s important for us to give back and help them deal with the consequences of that sacrifice.” 

Baylor Law School will host its next legal clinic from 2 to 5 p.m. on Friday, July 10, at Veterans One Stop, 2220 Austin Ave., in downtown Waco.