On Wednesday, April 25, Baylor Law’s Josh Borderud, Attorney-Director of Baylor Law’s Veterans Clinic, was invited to speak at the Champions of Justice Gala co-sponsored by the Texas Access to Justice Commission and the State Bar of Texas. The Gala raised over $404,000 to provide civil legal services and other assistance to low-income Texan veterans. The funds raised at the 2018 Gala will help support the Veterans Clinic and other programs across the state.
Josh Borderud, Attorney-Director of the Baylor Law Veterans Clinic, speaks at the 2018 Champions of Justice Gala
Speaking of the importance of the financial support that Baylor Law receives via the Champions of Justice Gala, Josh stated, “If not for the funds raised here at the Gala this evening, many veterans around the state would go without representation in civil legal matters. But thanks to your generosity, in Waco, veterans know that they have lawyers and law students willing to fight for them.”
In Waco, veterans know that they have lawyers and law students willing to fight for them.
–Director Josh Borderud, Baylor Law
Baylor Law professors Bridget Fuselier, Pat Wilson, and Connie Powell Nichols at the 2017 Champions of Justice Gala
Since its creation in 2012 under Professor Bridget Fuselier, the Baylor Law Veterans Clinic has provided free legal services and advice to over 900 veterans and their spouses. Over 200 Baylor Law students have gathered facts from clients, conducted research, drafted wills and pleadings, and argued cases in court in support of Central Texas veterans. Due in part to its proximity to Fort Hood, the communities surrounding Baylor Law are home to more than 79,000 veterans, many of whom cannot afford to hire an attorney.
At the Gala, Mr. Borderud shared stories of the impact that Baylor Law’s Veterans Clinic is having on low- and moderate-income veterans:
Last May, Buddy and Sandra, a Marine veteran and his wife, came to us with an eviction notice from their apartment complex telling them to vacate in less than two weeks due to an insect infestation that was beyond their control. We struck an agreement with the landlord's attorney for the clients to move out in one month and have the security deposit returned in full. When the clients were unable to comply with this agreement due to an unexpected lack of funds, we were able to buy them time to move into a new residence without facing eviction proceedings. Buddy wrote to us and said that our clinic “kept the wolves away from our throat, giving us the time to get out."
Lillian, the elderly surviving spouse of an Army veteran, came to us for help last March. Her husband passed away in 2005 without a will and she needed to clear title to her homestead and to have her affairs put in order. Living on a fixed income of less than $1,000.00 a month, Lillian could by no means afford a lawyer. Under the supervision of Professor Tom Featherston, 3rd year law student Kyle Dennis drafted her will and an affidavit of heirship, clearing title to her home and giving her peace of mind. Lillian wrote to us and said: "I really thank you and Kyle - it has taken a burden off my shoulders."
Speaking of the importance of the Veterans Clinic, Dean Brad Toben stated, “At Baylor Law, we firmly believe that as lawyers we are called to assist our neighbors in their time of need. At a time when so many of our fellow Americans are unable to afford legal services, we believe it is a key part of our mission to educate our students about the importance of pro bono work, and to assist, in any way we can, one of the most deserving segments of our community—our nation’s veterans.”
Additional photos of the Champions of Justice Gala are available, here.
MEDIA CONTACT: Ed Nelson, Director of Marketing & Communications
ABOUT BAYLOR LAW
Established in 1857, Baylor Law 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 has a record of producing outstanding lawyers, many of whom decide upon a career in public service. Baylor Law 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 one of the top 5 in the nation. Baylor Law School is also ranked #50 in the magazine’s 2019 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. Learn more at baylor.edu/law
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 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. Learn more at baylor.edu