New initiative helps veterans attending UGA law school

Law studentsThis story was originally posted on February 5, 2019, on UGA Today.

The University of Georgia School of Law announces the Butler Commitment, a new initiative that will guarantee financial aid to 100 percent of veterans who matriculate in the fall 2019 entering class.

“Thanks to the generous support to date, the School of Law has reached the point where every veteran currently enrolled in the entering class will receive financial aid,” School of Law Dean Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge said. “What better way to honor military women and men for their service than to provide them monetary support for their education. I am grateful to renowned trial attorney and 1977 law school alumnus Jim Butler for supporting this initiative. After serving our country, just as Jim’s father did, these men and women are seeking to build their careers. It is an honor to be able to support them in their efforts to become lawyers and to obtain justice for others.”

The number of veterans pursuing a law degree at UGA has increased over the last few years. In 2017 three veterans matriculated and in the fall of 2018 eight veterans enrolled.

“We are on track to exceed our fall 2018 number of enrolled veterans and hope this upward trend will continue,” Rutledge said. “Not only will these service men and women be receiving first-rate legal training, they will also have the opportunity to assist former veterans through work in the Veterans Legal Clinic. The clinic is already having a tremendous impact on the veteran community and on the law students who are learning what it means to serve a client. Thanks to Jim’s generous support, the law school will now build upon this success by guaranteeing financial aid to every veteran who accepts the school’s offer of admission and chooses to attend this fall. We call this initiative the Butler Commitment.”

In June 2018, the law school opened the Veterans Legal Clinic through which veterans living in Georgia can receive legal assistance particularly with claims before the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. A lead gift for the clinic was also provided by Butler in memory of his father, Lt. Cmdr. James E. Butler Sr., who was a U.S. Navy fighter pilot as well as the grandfather of James E. “Jeb” Butler III, a 2008 graduate of the law school.

Additionally, the School of Law participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program. The Yellow Ribbon program allows institutions of higher learning to make additional money available to fund tuition and fee expenses that exceed the tuition and fees covered by the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Under the program, the Department of Veterans Affairs matches school aid contributions made to eligible veterans.