Veterans Voices: Penn State law students help veterans with legal issues

Veterans Voices

EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — A program helping veterans with legal issues is back up and running at Penn State. This one benefits not only local vets, but the students as well.

Getting legal advice is never easy and it’s certainly not cheap, but a group of future lawyers at Penn State is changing that for local veterans.  

Every second Monday of the month, the Penn State Law Campus turns into the veterans and service members legal clinic — otherwise known as Military Mondays.

It’s a way for veterans to get free legal advice, and for law students to get real world experience. The students are supervised by clinical professor of law Michele Vollmer.

“They’re learning how to listen carefully and how to relate and establish trust even in that short period of time so the veteran can tell them enough information that they can, then provide some help,” said Vollmer.

The program can help with VA claims and appeals, disability cases, pension benefits, even landlord-tenant disputes. Technically, it’s a consultation, so the students cannot represent the veteran in court, but they can steer them in the right direction or connect them with another expert or lawyer to take their issue to the next level.

Vollmer says Military Mondays helps take some of the confusion and mystery out of what can be a complex VA system and appeal process.

“But just sitting down with them for that hour, by the end they are so appreciative because we really listen and try to understand, and we try to explain in plain language what the law is likely going to say about their issue,” Vollmer said.

Each veteran who applies will get one hour of free legal advice. For more information on Penn State’s Military Mondays, visit their website.

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