WACO, Texas -
The Texas Access to Justice Foundation has awarded Baylor Law with a $67,000 grant for the Veterans Clinic for 2017-2018.
In 2012, Professor Bridget Fuselier founded the Baylor Law Veterans Clinic to serve military veterans and their spouses with their civil legal needs. Now in its fifth year, the Veterans Clinic has provided legal assistance to over 750 veterans in Central Texas. The clinic is a training ground for the Baylor Law students who volunteer at the clinic. Law students working in the clinic acquire hands-on experience in client counseling, estate planning, and litigation. The clinic instills in these students a true passion for pro bono work.
"We are truly grateful to the continued and increased support from the Texas Access to Justice Foundation. Due to the funding in 2015, we were able to hire our first full-time attorney, Josh Borderud, to direct the clinic," said Professor Bridget Fuselier. "Josh's leadership has been instrumental in the continued success and expansion of the clinic. We have also our first legal assistant, Pamela Terrazas, to help Josh with the clinic. She has also proved invaluable in the operations of the clinic."
Since Borderud began work as clinic director in May 2016, students under his supervision have served over 330 veterans, drafted wills for over 65 clients, and represented clients in over ten litigation matters.
A disabled Iraq War veteran reached out to the Veterans Clinic dealing with his life spiraling out of control in the past year, which was largely related to his service-connected disability. He owed $3,033 in total fines to a local municipal court and could not afford his previous payment arrangement. The clinic represented him in court and presented evidence of his disabilities, income, expenses, and life challenges. The judge reviewed the evidence and forgave the full amount of his fines and court costs, allowing him to leave the courtroom with his debt completely wiped out.
"We believe that it is our duty as lawyers to assist our neighbors in their time of need. With so many of our fellow Americans unable to afford legal services, we believe it is a key part of our mission at Baylor Law School to educate our students about the importance of pro bono work," said Dean Brad Toben.
Since its inception in 1984, the Texas Access to Justice Foundation has awarded over $480 million in grants to help non-profits across the state improve the circumstances for veterans.
"With Texas having the second-highest population of veterans, it is essential that we provide legal services for those who have sacrificed so much for our country," said Justice Eva Guzman of the Texas Supreme Court. "Local legal aid programs for veterans are gateways to the justice system for many veterans and their families."
For more information about the Veterans Clinic email Josh Borderud at: Josh_Borderud@baylor.edu
ABOUT BAYLOR LAW SCHOOL
Established in 1857, Baylor Law School was one of the first law schools in Texas and one of the first west of the Mississippi River. Today, the school has more than 7,400 living alumni. It is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Baylor Law School has a record of producing outstanding lawyers, many of whom decide upon a career in public service. The Law School boasts two governors, members or former members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, two former directors of the FBI, U.S. ambassadors, federal judges, justices of the Texas Supreme Court and members of the Texas Legislature, among its notable alumni. In its law specialties rankings, U.S. News & World Report ranked Baylor Law's trial advocacy program as #3 in the nation. Baylor Law School is also ranked #51 in the magazine's 2018 edition of "America's Best Graduate Schools." The National Jurist ranks Baylor Law as one of the "Best School for Practical Training," and #4 in the nation in its most recent "Best Law School Facilities" listing. The Business Insider places Baylor Law among the top 50 law schools in the nation. Baylor Law School received the 2015 American Bar Association Pro Bono Publico Award, making it only the third law school in the nation to be honored with the award since the award's inception in 1984.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 D1 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big XII Conference. Learn more at baylor.edu