Recognizing the unique sacrifices and needs of U.S. military veterans, students from Thomas Jefferson School of Law repay those who have served our country by offering free legal representation. This Veterans Day, the law school will have helped nearly 1,000 formerly homeless veterans with their legal needs since the program’s inception in 2006.
“Adjusting to life after the military can be hard enough, but veterans facing legal issues past or present can really get discouraged,” notes Thomas Jefferson School of Law Dean Thomas Guernsey. “I am proud of the services our school and our students are able to provide helping veterans in need clear the hurdles on their path to success.”
Under the direction of Thomas Jefferson School of Law Professor Steve Berenson, law students in the Veterans Legal Assistance Clinic program provide veterans with free legal counseling and service. Operated in partnership with the homeless veteran assistance organization Veterans Village of San Diego, the Veterans Clinic program has become a nationally recognized model by focusing exclusively on the legal needs of veterans.
Low- and moderate-income veterans not involved with Veterans Village can also receive free legal assistance through Thomas Jefferson Law’s Veterans Self-Help Legal Clinic. Monroe Rostick is among the veterans who have benefited from Thomas Jefferson Law School’s free veteran legal assistance. After falling on hard times, Rostick found himself attending Veterans Village by court order. Led by Thomas Jefferson Law alumnus Zack Mikucki, a veteran himself, Veterans Clinic students were able to get Rostick’s probation terminated early and reduce a felony drug conviction to a misdemeanor.
Rostick has made the most of his legal second chance. He has graduated from the Veterans Village program, and has remained clean, sober and employed for months after graduation.
“It’s hard to put into words how grateful I am for the work the Thomas Jefferson Law students put in to help me,” Rostick said. “Things are so much better now and I have the peace of mind and security to know that I can move on with much better prospects for the future. I thank them for helping me to get my future back.”
The hard work and resulting success also made an impression on Mikucki.
“As a fellow veteran, I know how much commitment and sacrifice people like Monroe have demonstrated, and how hard the post-military transition can be,” he said. “We don’t leave our comrades behind in a battle situation and we’re not going to do that here at home either.”
Thomas Jefferson School of Law welcomes the opportunity to help those who served our country. If you are a veteran in need of legal assistance, please contact Veterans Village of San Diego or reach out to the School directly (619) 297-9700.