Stetson Law Receives $438K from State to Help Veterans

Photo of building and sign outside Stetson Law's Veterans Law Institute
Exterior building photo of Veterans Law Institute at Stetson College of Law

Stetson University College of Law has received $438,000 in state funding this year to provide free legal services to veterans appealing decisions about their disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Through the Veterans Law Institute and its Veterans Advocacy Clinic, staff and Law students have helped veterans receive about $23 million in additional future benefits, as well as $13 million in retroactive benefits, since 2014.

President Christopher F. Roellke, PhD

“Stetson Law is a leader nationally in providing pro bono legal services to veterans who might not otherwise be able to fight for the benefits they have earned,” said Stetson President Christopher F. Roellke, PhD. “We are most grateful to Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Legislature for providing this funding.”

The Veterans Advocacy Clinic is part of the Veterans Law Institute on the Stetson Law campus in Gulfport, providing legal services for veterans and their family members appealing decisions about disability compensation benefits from the VA. Stetson Law students and staff provide about 250 hours of free legal work on every client case.

Stacey-Rae Simcox, JD

“This support from the State of Florida will be immensely helpful to grow the incredible work that our students and staff do on behalf of veterans every day,” said Stacey-Rae Simcox, a Stetson Law Professor and Director of the Veterans Law Institute and Veterans Advocacy Clinic. “Through our work, veterans can get access to priority health care and financial help that can mean the end of housing instability for their families.”

The funding is included in the 2024-2025 state budget that took effect July 1.

“Our primary goals are to train law students to be excellent attorneys and to help our nation’s veterans. This funding will help the Veterans Law Institute increase our abilities to do both,” Simcox said. “Increasing a veteran’s access to benefits he or she has earned through service to our nation can be life-changing for both the veteran client and the student who represents the veteran.”

-Stetson Today