How was the Veterans Clinic started?
The Veterans Clinic came together from a number of sources. In the fall of 2012, two Mizzou Law students, Larry Lambert and Scott Apking, themselves veterans, met with Dean Gary Myers to discuss the idea of a Veterans Clinic at the law school after successfully arguing a moot court competition in Washington, D.C., which focused on veterans’ benefits. The clinic continues to this day as the product of hundreds of hours of student work invested in both the client’s files and in outreach.
Veterans Clinic Announcement
Where will the clinic get its clients?
Initially, the Veterans Clinic will receive files from the Veterans Pro Bono Consortium in Washington, D.C., as well as referrals from service organization representatives.
Do other law schools provide this type of clinic?
Yes. Programs established to assist veterans have been established at several law schools, including Yale Law School, the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law and Widener University School of Law. Mizzou Law will join 17 other law schools that work with the Veterans Pro Bono Consortium Program.
Why is this clinic important to the University of Missouri School of Law?
The law school strives to provide a variety of experiential learning opportunities to appeal to students of all interests. This clinic is one of several at the law school, enabling students to work on real world matters, guided by experienced faculty.
Can law students really help the veterans secure their benefits?
When a veteran’s claim is denied by the regional veterans’ affairs office, the veteran must embark upon a federal appeals process. At the first level of appeal, which would be serviced by the law school’s clinic, 73 percent of denials are reversed. At the second level of appeal, which would also be a focus of the clinic, veterans represented by attorneys enjoy a success rate of 80 percent or better. [statistics provided by the Widener University School of Law Veteran’s Clinic]
How are these services unique in Boone County, Missouri?
The clinic will focus on handling appeals of benefit denials with the Washington, D.C., offices handling these matters. The clinic will work on a collaborative basis with Mid-Missouri Legal Services and the local court system to the extent clients may need services unrelated to veterans’ benefits. Veterans’ benefits law is a specialty area, governed by federal law, and the University of Missouri School of Law Veterans Clinic will not duplicate any services provided by either Mid-Missouri Legal Services or the Boone County Veterans Court.