Concordia Law students host legal clinic for military members
Creating a lasting will and planning an estate are some of the most important preparations anyone can do to provide peace of mind for their loved ones. To that end, students at Concordia University School of Law — in conjunction with the Idaho Military Legal Alliance (IMLA), host a quarterly wills clinic specifically for military veterans. These clinics provide an opportunity for the law students to practice their legal and people skills, while helping Idaho vets answer tricky questions about estate planning.
Making a difference
Each clinic includes free will and estate planning for service members, veterans, and their dependents. According to Concordia Law student and veteran Jessica McBride, “The IMLA is a group of organizations that have committed to increasing the quality of life for all veterans. We participate with the IMLA in a variety of ways. Along with will and estate planning clinics, we also support the veteran’s stand-downs that occur in both Boise and Nampa. And on the second Friday of each month, from 2 to 4 pm, the VA hosts a street law clinic exclusively for veterans that our students and professors help out at.”
“The best part is giving back to those who served our country,” said Samia McCall, Concordia’s Assistant Director of Career Services. “It’s also an important experience for law students to help them learn client interface skills and how to serve as effective lawyers.”
Dedicated to service
Josh Bode, the Veterans Justice Outreach Coordinator at the Boise VA, said the interest in the clinics has steadily grown since the first event in 2015 drew approximately 20 people. Bode said that connecting with Concordia Law to support the veterans clinic was a natural choice because the law school has many students who are also veterans and have a desire to give back. About 15 percent of the school’s student body is made up of military veterans. Concordia has a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs designation as a Yellow Ribbon school, allowing veterans to receive special financial assistance toward tuition and fees. “We have a great partnership,” said Bode. “Veterans always want to help other veterans.”
One of those veteran students is Jason Stanley, a third year Concordia Law student and former Marine and National Guard soldier who volunteers at the events. Stanley said the connection with veterans working with lawyers at the event made it a very good use of his time.
“The military has always been a brotherhood, about service. There’s an instant connection, regardless of age,” he said. “Early on in my time at Concordia, the school talked to me about pro bono service. This came up as an option and I immediately signed up. There’s a need and I’m glad for the opportunity.”