The University of Georgia School of Law is establishing a Veterans Legal Services Clinic funded by a lead gift from renowned trial attorney and 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.
The new clinic will provide veterans in Georgia with legal assistance they might not otherwise have access to or be able to afford, with particular regard to denied or deferred claims before the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. It also includes an educational scholarship component.
Overseen by a clinic director serving as a managing attorney, the unit will be staffed by law students who will work directly with veterans and their dependents to ensure access to benefits and services, especially for those with mental or physical disabilities resulting from their time in the military. The students who participate in the clinic will have a tangible impact on the lives of these veterans and their families while receiving real-world experience that will better equip them for their careers.
Four members of the law school’s Board of Visitors have joined Butler in support of the new clinic including Butler’s longtime law partner Joel O. Wooten Jr., Kenneth M. Henson Jr., G. Sanders Griffith III and Pete Robinson. Notably, Wooten, Henson and Griffith are UGA School of Law graduates.
“The Veterans Legal Services Clinic builds upon the law school’s commitment to supporting those who have served our nation,” School of Law Dean Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge said. “I am pleased that funding for the clinic will also provide a $5,000 scholarship match for two veterans studying at the School of Law each year.”
This funding will be paired with “match” money received through the Department of Veterans Affairs Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program.