Law School Clinic Provides Free Legal Counsel to Members of the Armed Services

After being deployed to Iraq, a George Mason School of Law student wrote to law school administration to say his landlord in the United States was threatening to evict his fiancee from their residence. The law school rose to the challenge and secured an alumni's assistance to resolve the dispute. This and related events spurred creation of a law school clinic to provide free counsel to military personnel and their families who cannot afford it.

Launched in January 2004, the Clinic for Legal Assistance to Servicemembers (CLAS) is now formally operational. It has received recognition in a FY 2005 Department of Defense appropriation, and the five armed forces—Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard—support it. Private foundations and prominent law firms have contributed operational funds. Moreover, the American Bar Association has identified the clinic as a model for a possible nationwide pilot program for Military Consumer Law Clinics.