University of Georgia opens clinic for vets

The University of Georgia School of Law has opened a new Veterans Legal Clinic. The clinic provides veterans in Georgia with legal assistance they might not otherwise have access to or be able to afford, with particular regard to denied or deferred claims before the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. It also includes an educational scholarship component. The clinic is based at the school’s campus in Athens and will serve veterans and their dependents across the state of Georgia.

The state has the ninth largest population of veterans in the nation, many of whom return suffer from service-related disabilities, said Alexander W. “Alex” Scherr, who will direct the clinic’s operations. He has more than three decades experience as a public service lawyer and educator.

“Law students will work directly with veterans and their dependents to ensure access to both benefits and services, especially for those with mental or physical disabilities resulting from their time in the military,” he said. 

“No veteran should be denied benefits simply because they cannot afford legal assistance. We know that the involvement of an attorney can make a tremendous difference in outcome with regard to denied or deferred claims before the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs,” Scherr said. “Our No. 1 goal is to improve how former servicemen and women receive assistance from the nation they have served.”

The new Veterans Legal Clinic was announced last year after the school received initial funding from trial attorney and 1977 law school alumnus James E. “Jim” Butler Jr. in memory of his father, Lt. Cmdr. James E. Butler Sr., who was a fighter pilot in the U.S. Navy. Butler Sr. was also the grandfather of James E. “Jeb” Butler III, a 2008 graduate of the law school.

“We are excited about the positive impact we believe this clinic will have on those who have served our nation and their families as well as the opportunity it will provide our students to receive real world experience that will prepare them for future careers,” School of Law Dean Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge said. “We are grateful for the financial support of Jim Butler and others who have made this important new resource possible for the many veterans who call Georgia home.”

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