ABA's Business Law Today Features Article on Mason's Clinic for Legal Assistance to Servicemembers (CLAS)The law school at George Mason University in Arlington, Va., is close enough to the Pentagon that smoke on Sept. 11, 2001, was visible from the school's front entrance. A number of George Mason's law students were in the Pentagon when it was struck. When a law student who was mobilized from the classroom and deployed to Iraq wrote that his wife's landlord was threatening to evict her from their residence in the Washington metropolitan area, the law school secured the assistance of a graduate who resolved the dispute.
That's the environment in which the idea was born to create the Clinic for Legal Assistance to Service members (CLAS) and their families. Under the aegis of CLAS, members of the bar in all fields supervise George Mason law students in assisting our men and women in uniform and their families. The need for help can be particularly acute among the families left behind by those deployed abroad. They, and their uniformed sponsors, can require intervention for a range of problems that corporate lawyers are equipped to deal with: financial disputes with creditors, landlord-tenant matters, consumer rights and bankruptcy. Other lawyers supervise in matters involving estate planning and domestic relations.