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Stetson University College of Law Opening New Veterans Law Institute in Gulfport.

Posted May 31, 2012 by Howard Altman

Updated May 31, 2012 at 11:25 AM

With one of the nation’s largest populations of veterans clustered within an hour’s drive of the Tampa-St. Pete area, Stetson University College of Law is opening a new Veterans Law Institute today in Gulfport.

The institute will serve the growing population of active duty military, veterans and their families in the Tampa Bay area. The institute’s Veterans Advocacy Clinic will provide representation to veterans seeking government benefits as well as those appealing decisions denying benefits.

The Veterans Law Institute will open with a ceremonial ribbon cutting at 6101 13th Ave. S. in Gulfport, adjacent to Stetson’s Gulfport campus.

“The Veterans Advocacy Clinic represents a new era in Stetson’s historical commitment to both veterans’ rights and experiential legal education,” said Professor Cynthia Batt, the Director of Clinical Education.

According to a Stetson media release:

The Stetson Veterans Law Institute will serve the growing population of active duty military, veterans and their families in the Tampa Bay area, home to one of the largest concentrations of veterans in the U.S.

“Stetson’s Veterans Law Institute will be an important part of our nation’s efforts to carry out President Lincoln’s command that we all should care for those who have borne the battle,” said Professor Michael Allen, the institute’s director.

The Stetson Veterans Law Institute has the following objectives:

• Assist with Admission and Retention of Veterans
The institute will work to continue efforts to provide new opportunities for veterans who wish to study at Stetson University College of Law. In the past year, Stetson Law has increased our Yellow Ribbon scholarships from three to 10.

• Expand Veterans and Military-Related Clinic and Internship Opportunities
Among others, Stetson Law offers internship opportunities at the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims in Washington and will this summer have placements with the National Guard and MacDill Air Force Base. 

The institute’s Veterans Advocacy Clinic will provide representation to veterans seeking government benefits as well as those appealing decisions denying benefits. Professor Cynthia Batt is the director of Clinical Education. Note: To make an appointment with the Veterans Advocacy Clinic, please email veteranslaw@law.stetson.edu.

• Provide Public Service
The institute will work to increase pro bono and other service to active duty troops, veterans, and their families. Stetson Law students have long provided service to veterans and veterans organizations, either through student organizations or on an individual basis.

The institute will also work in partnership with other organizations, including Legal Assistance for Warriors, to provide pro bono legal services for active duty personnel and their families.

The institute will also develop and sponsor programs including continuing legal education programs for attorneys representing veterans, seminars for veterans and members of the military, and academic conferences focused on veterans and military issues.

• Improve Public Policy by Enhancing Legal Scholarship and Public Policy Initiatives Related to Veterans Issues
Stetson Law has a number of faculty who write about veterans, military law, and national security issues. Veterans Law Institute Director Mike Allen’s scholarship led him to testify before the Committees on Veterans Affairs of both the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. The institute will serve as a focal point for encouraging and promoting this work.

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