This story originally ran on UGA Today on June 18, 2018
In 2017, 1977 law school alumnus James E. “Jim” Butler Jr. provided funding to the University of Georgia School of Law to establish a Veterans Legal Clinic in memory of his father, Lt. Cmdr. James E. Butler Sr., who was a fighter pilot in the U.S. Navy. The impact of the Butler family’s generosity came to life in 2018 as the Veterans Legal Clinic began providing legal assistance to veterans living in Georgia who may not otherwise have access to that support.
Beginning this month, veterans living in Georgia can receive legal assistance they may not otherwise have access to or be able to afford through the University of Georgia School of Law’s new Veterans Legal Clinic.
Georgia has the ninth largest population of veterans in the United States, many of whom return home with service-related disabilities and therefore rely on benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, according to 30-plus-year public service lawyer and educator Alexander W. “Alex” Scherr, who will direct the clinic’s operations.
“Law students will work directly with veterans and their dependents to ensure access to both benefits and services, especially for those with mental or physical disabilities resulting from their time in the military,” he said.
“No veteran should be denied benefits simply because they cannot afford legal assistance. We know that the involvement of an attorney can make a tremendous difference in outcome with regard to denied or deferred claims before the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs,” Scherr said. “Our No. 1 goal is to improve how former servicemen and women receive assistance from the nation they have served.”
The school announced it would open the Veterans Legal Clinic last year after receiving initial funding from renowned trial attorney and 1977 law school alumnus James E. “Jim” Butler Jr. in memory of his father, Lt. Cmdr. James E. Butler Sr., who was a fighter pilot in the U.S. Navy. Butler Sr. was also the grandfather of James E. “Jeb” Butler III, a 2008 graduate of the law school.
“We are excited about the positive impact we believe this clinic will have on those who have served our nation and their families as well as the opportunity it will provide our students to receive real world experience that will prepare them for future careers,” School of Law Dean Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge said. “We are grateful for the financial support of Jim Butler and others who have made this important new resource possible for the many veterans who call Georgia home.”
Individuals seeking help from the clinic can call 706-542-6439 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.