The University of South Carolina School of Law will open its Veterans Legal Clinic Monday. The clinic will provide free legal services to veterans living in South Carolina.
Robert Wilcox, dean of the School of Law, said the idea came from a national symposium on veterans’ access to justice held in December 2016.
“Hearing the scope of legal struggles our veterans face was a pivotal moment for me,” Wilcox said in a news release. “I knew we could make a big impact for our community and state while providing a new clinical experience for students.”
The clinic will focus on financial and housing legal issues, estate planning, accessing public benefits, guardianship, divorce, custody and expunging criminal records. The clinic’s initial work is funded by a grant from the South Carolina Bar Foundation and the Boeing Company.
According to a news release from the University of South Carolina, there are approximately 400,000 military veterans living in the state. The Department of Veteran Affairs has identified legal services as an unmet need for homeless and poor veterans.
“We want to help solve the problems preventing veterans from finding or keeping a job or housing,” said clinic director Clyde “Bennett” Gore Jr., who is also a USC law school alumnus and a veteran.
Gore said the clinic will also give law students experience in representing clients and working cases during the fall and spring semesters. All students will be under the supervision of Gore and other practicing attorneys through the S.C. Supreme Court’s Student Practice Rule.
The clinic is located on the third floor of the School of Law located at 1525 Senate St. It will be open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and follow the university’s holiday schedule.
Veterans interested in the clinic’s services can call 803-777-2278 or visit the clinic webpage and complete the intake form.