Published on November 6, 2020 by Morgan Black  
CVets Square
The Cumberland Veterans Legal Assistance Clinic (C-VETS) is the first of its kind in the state of Alabama. Launched by Samford University Cumberland School of Law this fall, C-VETS provides free legal assistance to veterans and their families in an eight-county area of North Central Alabama. The program also provides opportunities for law students to consult with real clients under the supervision of licensed attorneys.

Since the launch of the clinic, C-VETS has received approximately 60 inquiries for legal assistance. Students have been introduced to organizations such as Still Serving Veterans, the Central Alabama Veterans Collaborative and the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs.
 
“We have had several of the matters we have taken this semester successfully resolved, and the students in our clinic have been phenomenal,” said Judge John Carroll, C-VETS supervising attorney and U.S. Marine Corps veteran.

During the first semester of accepting clients, students and C-VETS attorneys have worked on a wide variety of legal matters, including wills and estates, family law issues, landlord-tenant issues and consumer credit issues. They have also been able to represent veterans in some municipal court matters, as well as help them with the restoration of voting rights and pardon issues.
 
Gabe Tucker, a third-year student whose father is a U.S. Navy veteran, immediately knew he wanted to be a part of the new clinic. For his first work pleading to a judge in a courtroom he helped a veteran eliminate $1,000 in municipal court fines.
 
Photo of Gabe Tucker
“We’ve learned the theory in our classes,” Tucker said. “Through C-VETS, we’ve been able to apply that theory in a practical way to see what legal outcomes really look like. Cumberland already does a great job of providing real-world opportunities, but this experience has taken it to a whole new level.” 
Tucker said he looks forward to staying in touch with the clinic after he graduates in May. “It’s been a truly humbling and gratifying experience to be able to be a source of comfort for our country’s veterans while helping them with their legal issues. I look forward to supporting the clinic in any way that I can after graduation.”

During the spring 2021 semester, C-VETS will be developing the ability for students to assist veterans in upgrading their discharges. Additionally, the clinic is exploring the possibility of a medical-legal partnership with Birmingham’s VA hospital.
 
To learn more about C-VETS or to apply for legal assistance, see here.