South Carolina veterans in need of legal help filing or appealing a benefits claim with the US Department of Veterans Affairs will soon be getting just that, thanks to a partnership between the Richland County Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division (RCBA YLD), and the Service Members and Veterans in Law (SVL), a student organization of the University of South Carolina School of Law.
“Richland County Project Salute” will kick off this local initiative with a “Stand Down” on Saturday, Aug. 10, from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. in the lobby of the University of South Carolina School of Law, located at 701 Main Street in Columbia. During the event, volunteer attorneys—most of whom have also served in the military–will answer questions and advise veterans regarding their benefits and the claims process.
While they won’t be able to give legal advice themselves, SVL members have already played a large part in the project by bringing it to South Carolina.
“(We) helped lobby the RCBA YLD to implement the program after we learned of its existence last year,” said John Wall, president of the USC chapter of SVL. “We sent the information to Walt Cartin of Parker Poe and Will Harter who helped bring the program to the attention of the YLD and got them to agree to start the program.”
Cartin and Harter, are both alumni of the law school and are also veterans. Harter received his bachelors from USC.
SVL members will attend the same training as the volunteer lawyers, gaining valuable knowledge about the claims and appeals process, and will be on-hand during the “Stand Down” to assist in any way they can. The experience will also be a valuable opportunity for these student veterans and service members to meet and network with attorneys in the legal community who also veterans and take pride in assisting other veterans.
This is the first time such an event is being held in South Carolina, and is modeled after the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law program, which was named the American Bar Associations YLD’s National Public Service Project for 2011-12.
For more information about the project, contact Will Harter at Will.Harter@HarterLawOffice.com or (803) 467-7108.