The official blog of the WVU Clinical Law Program

Garrett Burgess was awarded a Newman Civic Fellowship. Courtesy: West Virginia University

WVU Fellowship Winner Aims To Help Veterans Access Benefits

You might not expect a veteran to be less-than-honorably discharged due to mental trauma...but that’s the issue many veterans are facing today. One student at West Virginia University is going around the state with lawyers to help veterans get access to benefits.

Thirteen percent of discharges from 1991 - 2013 are less-than-honorable, according to a study by Swords to Plowshares in conjunction with Harvard Law School. That’s more than 500,000 veterans, who are less qualified for benefits, and carry a life-long stigma. WVU student Garrett Burgess hopes to help solve that problem. He’s partnering with WVU College of Law’s Veterans’ Advocacy Clinic. Garrett says he plans to enter the military, and that’s is the reason he wants to help the clinic.

WVU student awarded fellowship to work for veterans

A West Virginia University student who wants to assist veterans who may have been wrongly discharged from service has been named a 2017 Newman Civic Fellow by the Campus Compact, a national non-profit organization that advances the public purpose of higher education to educate students for civic and social responsibility.

Garrett Burgess is a junior from Clendenin majoring in both political science and world languages, literature and linguistics with a concentration in Russian Studies in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. He is also an Air Force Reserve Officers' Training Corps flight commander and a student in the Honors College.

Federal Correctional Institution-Hazelton

WVU Clinical Law Provides Educational Programming for Incarcerated Veterans at FCI Hazelton

On Thursday, February 16, 2017, a small group of students from the West Virginia University College of Law Clinical Law Program traveled to the Federal Correctional Institution-Hazelton, a federal medium security men’s prison facility, to offer programming to incarcerated veterans. Included in the group were student attorneys Michelle Schaller and Bradley Wright from the West Virginia Innocence Project, student attorneys Kirsten Lilly and C.J. Reid from the Veterans Advocacy Clinic, undergraduate social work student Tatum Storey, as well as Professors Valena Beety (WVIP Director) and Jennifer Oliva (VAC Director).

Programming comes in all shapes and sizes, but its importance speaks volumes for the future of inmates. With the decline in prison programming, the West Virginia Innocence Project and the Veterans Advocacy Clinic recognized that programing to help incarcerated veterans with Veterans Administration (VA) benefits, such as disability compensation and discharge upgrades, was one thing the clinics could do to help fill this void by aiding specific inmates with their issues and by providing inmates with the resources and knowledge necessary to help themselves. 

Alex Jonese, left, and Brad DeFlumeri, right.

West Virginia University College of Law students help disabled veterans

MORGANTOWN – Law students from the West Virginia University College of Law recently helped two disabled Air Force veterans successfully win their cases in the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

The students were part of the Veteran’s Advocacy Clinic (VAC) at West Virginia University, one of nine clinics offered every year at the school to third-year law students. Students apply to the clinics during the spring of their second year in law school.