There are approximately 400,000 veterans living in South Carolina, many of whom have served in combat zones across the world. Many of these veterans face a variety of challenges when they return home and attempt to reintegrate into their families and communities. These challenges can range from finding employment to managing disabilities or the mental health consequences of deployments. These strains often result in housing, financial, domestic and family issues, and problems accessing public benefits.
To address this demand, the University of South Carolina School of Law has created the Veterans Legal Clinic, which will offer services to any indigent veteran facing certain legal issues, including:
- credit and related financial matters
- housing issues
- government benefits
- family law issues
The clinic operates on a year-round basis, and the services offered through the clinic are free to qualifying veterans and/or members of their family. However, the veteran may still be responsible for paying court costs or other fees associated with litigation such as filing fees, expert fees, mediation expenses, and/or the appointment of a Guardian ad Litem.
The clinic will also be partnering with the Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough Center on Professionalism at the School of Law to help develop a comprehensive state-level assessment of veteran legal needs. This data will be extremely valuable for understanding the scope and nature of veterans’ legal needs and form a baseline for measuring the effectiveness of different types of legal services.
The initial work of the Veterans Legal Clinic has been funded by grants from the South Carolina Bar Foundation and the Boeing Foundation.
For Veterans Seeking Help
To find out if your legal problem is one that can be solved by the clinic, you may fill out the Veterans Legal Clinic Intake Form or call (803) 777-3398 to make an appointment and speak to someone in person. After gathering some basic information from you and completing the screening process, the clinic will be able to identify whether it can represent your case.
Veterans whose cases have been accepted will be represented by South Carolina Law students enrolled in the clinic and working under the guidance of the clinical director. Students will adhere to South Carolina Supreme Court's Student Practice Rule. When classes are not in session, the clinical director and staff attorneys will ensure that cases continue to move forward.
In addition to the Veterans Legal Clinic, there are many other community resources available that offer assistance to veterans living in South Carolina, including:
University of South Carolina Resources
The Veterans and Military Services team can help you navigate the unique experience of balancing student and service life. They help address questions, assist with benefit requirements and connect you to campus resources exclusively for veterans and military.