Local attorneys and law students provide free help to veterans

WACO, Texas (KWTX) Legal fees can cost exorbitant amounts of money and veterans on fixed incomes may not be able to afford an attorney when they need one.

Photo by Neal Klaeser

But several Central Texas lawyers and volunteers are providing help for free.

Once a month you'll find Baylor law student Drew Beatty at the Veterans One Stop joining other student and professional volunteers with the Baylor Law Veterans Clinic.

"The best way to honor veterans is to truly sit down with them and speak with them and help them in any way you can," Beatty said.

And he would know as a veteran himself.

"I spent eight and a half years in the Marine Corps, I was a helicopter pilot," he said, "If something went down that wasn't planned or a base was getting attacked you really ran out to the helicopter and got it started and got out there as fast as you could."

Experiences that help bring a sensitivity to conversations he has with veterans dealing with legal troubles.

"You can perhaps understand what they're coming from or understand what they've seen," Beatty explained.

"The most common areas are family law, property issues, consumer debt, bankruptcy, landlord tenant matters, and other consumer concerns," said Josh Borderud, the director of the Baylor Law Veterans Clinic.

They handle a lot of estate planning as well.

Eleven times a year law the crew offers legal help with civil matters to veterans and their spouses. students get all the initial information, then attorneys come in to help.

Borderud said, "they go in together and the lawyer will dispense advice or council to the veteran or the veteran's spouse."

About 25 people show up for legal assistance at each of the 11 clinics throughout the year.

"We see a lot of people who are at the end of their rope and they're under a lot of stress," Borderud said, "usually by the end of a session they feel a sense of a relief and they feel help is on the way."

And those clients see results.

Beatty says giving and getting help like this is part of being an American, supporting people who helped protect the country we call home.

Beatty said, "we are rugged individualists but at the same time we know there is an institution to protect us and make sure we're safe and secure."

If you're a veteran or veteran's spouse and you need help with a civil legal matter you can contact the clinic at (254) 710-4244 or e-mail VETERANS_CLINIC@BAYLOR.EDU.