Summary: The University at Buffalo Law School will launch a legal clinic specifically tailored toward the needs of veterans.
According to Buffalo Business First, in the spring semester, the SUNY Buffalo Law School will launch a new legal aid program to assist military veterans. The economic security clinic will help veterans who have served the country with issues such as homelessness, access to basic necessities, and a lack of financial stability.
Students and faculty will provide the legal services at no cost to veterans in the Western New York area who are facing consumer debt issues and eviction. The clinicâ€™s goal is to ensure equity in obtaining basic necessities that these veterans need to lead a normal civilian life.
On Veteranâ€™s Day, November 11, 2014, the school will hold a free, public event to celebrate the new clinic. At 10:00 a.m., the event will begin in the Cellino and Barnes Conference Center on the fifth floor of the SUNY Buffalo Law School. Speakers at the event will include a Veterans Administration representative; Makau Mutua, the dean of the law school, and Charles Zukoski, the provost of the University at Buffalo. Guests in attendance will include veterans associated with the law school and university, and the students and faculty who will volunteer in the clinic.
Professor Kim Diana Connolly, the director of clinical legal education and vice dean for legal skills, stated, â€œThis clinic will help serve critical needs in the veterans community while giving students the opportunity to get great hands-on experience. The Veterans Clinic will dovetail nicely with our strong existing clinical programs serving vulnerable populations in Western New York.”
Students will also have the opportunity to give veterans on-site legal services at locations such as the Veterans Administration Hospital. Law students will also collaborate with community partners to advocate for reform for veterans and recommend policy changes.
Roman Fontana, an attorney with the Veterans One-stop Center of Western New York, commented that landlord-tenant issues and consumer debt concerns were some of the most common legal issues veterans in Buffalo face.
Cody Jacobs will launch the clinic. Jacobs is an instructor and clinical teaching fellow at the law school. He was also named a California Lawyer Magazine Attorney in recognition of his pro bono work.
The clinic will be open to both second- and third-year students. Students who participate on the program will be admitted under New Yorkâ€™s student practice rule so that they can lead the representation of their clients. Students will make court appearances, interview and counsel clients, and negotiate with opposing counsel.
Photo credit: mass.gov