The University of Wisconsin Law School will launch its new Veterans Law Center this Thursday, aimed at providing legal assistance to Dane County veterans.
Ann Zimmerman, pro bono director for UW Law School, said an open house will be held Thursday to celebrate the launch. She said the first clinic will follow the open house.
Zimmerman said the center’s goal is to provide legal assistance to low-income local military service members who may either be active members or veterans. Service would be provided to their families as well, she said.
“What we’ve found across the United States and in Madison is a growing number of local military service members who do not have adequate access to legal services,” Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman said a large number of soldiers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq are currently in need of legal service in Dane County.
Legal issues veterans commonly face include foreclosure, divorce and unemployment, according to a UW statement.
Volunteer attorneys, paralegals and volunteer law students will work together to provide services to the local military service members, Zimmerman said.
She said in Wisconsin every lawyer has the professional responsibility to provide legal services pro bono or free of charge, adding that every lawyer should try to provide 50 hours of pro bono service each year.
“Law students can get practical hands-on legal experience while fulfilling their obligation,” Zimmerman said. “They are providing a much needed service.”
Two attorneys and two law students are scheduled for each clinic and will work as partners, while the practicing attorney will take the lead during client interviews, according to the UW statement.
Kathy Marschman, a UW law student and retired National Guard member since 2004, said she spent seven years in active duty working with other members of the Army who were going through the disability system.
She said she recognized a need for legal services for military service members and their families through experience and expressed her excitement that the Veterans Center can fulfill that need.
Marschman said she was amazed at the community’s lack of knowledge regarding the minimal availability of legal assistance for veterans based on the growing need. She said she hopes the Veterans Center will show the community how important the services can be.
“I am looking forward to working at the Veterans Law Center,” Marschman said. “I graduate in December, so I’m excited to work in 2013 helping as an attorney as well.”
The free clinics will take place the second and fourth Thursday of each month, Zimmerman said. According to the UW statement, the first clinic will be located at Madison’s City County Building on 210 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
The UW Law School’s Pro Bono Program created the Veterans Center in a collaborative effort with the Dane County Bar Association, the Dane County Veterans Service, Porchlight, Inc, as well as other law firms, Zimmerman said.
According to the statement, a $5,000 Pro Bono Initiative Grant from the State Bar Legal Assistant Committee will fund the Veterans Center.lvd.
The UW Law School’s Pro Bono Program created the Veterans Center in a collaborative effort with the Dane County Bar Association, the Dane County Veterans Service, Porchlight, Inc, as well as other law firms, Zimmerman said.According to the statement, a $5,000 Pro Bono Initiative Grant from the State Bar Legal Assistant Committee will fund the Veterans Center.