Greg Bowman and Jen Oliva

WVU College of Law new veterans advocate will serve southern West Virginia

More of West Virginia’s veterans will soon have access to free legal help from the West Virginia University College of Law.

The law firm of Wooton, Davis, Hussell & Ellis, PLLC in Beckley, has pledged $60,000 over the next two years to fund a full-time fellow in the college’s Veterans Advocacy Law Clinic. Based at the West Virginia University Institute of Technology in Beckley, the fellow will provide legal services for veterans who reside in the southern part of the state.

“Wooton, Davis, Hussell & Ellis, PLLC has proudly provided legal representation to veterans in the southern part of West Virginia for many years, and we recognize that there is currently a void in the resources available to veterans,” said the firm’s leadership in a joint statement. “The WVU Veterans Advocacy Law Clinic will significantly help to fill this void, and our attorneys are extremely happy to support and be a part of this wonderful program that gives back to our local veterans.”

Since Wooton, Davis, Hussell & Ellis, PLLC pledged their support for the Veterans Advocacy Fellow, several other lawyers and organizations have made contributions to the program. Significant gifts have come from Michael Escue ’98; Steve New ’98; Mike Farrell ’74 and Farrell, White & Legg PLLC; Pullin Fowler, LLC; and the United Mine Workers of America. Additional donors have contributed $30,000 to fund the fellowship and help the state’s veterans.

“One of the remarkable characteristics of lawyers is that they are willing to take the lead and offer assistance when and where it is needed,” said Gregory Bowman, dean of the College of Law. “It is our privilege at WVU Law to provide the means to serve some of our state’s most valued citizens — those who have served our county.”

The Veterans Advocacy Fellow will be supervised by law professor Jennifer Oliva, director of the Veterans Advocacy Law Clinic. The fellow will work for two years on veteran-specific civil and administrative law issues, including service-connected disability benefits, pension and health care benefits, employment and workforce programs, educational and training benefits programs, and housing-related assistance programs.

“Many West Virginia veterans need legal assistance,” Oliva said. “With the Veterans Advocacy Fellow in Beckley, we can expand our services in the Southern District of West Virginia, take on more cases and, ultimately, win the benefits that all West Virginia veterans have earned and deserve. This expansion project is only possible because of the generous support of Wooton, Davis, Hussell & Ellis, PLLC. As a proud U.S. Army veteran, I cannot thank the Wooton firm enough for its substantial commitment to our heroic West Virginia veteran neighbors who reside in the Southern District of this great State.”

There are approximately 170,000 veterans living in West Virginia, many of whom have acute and unique legal needs related to their military service or return to civilian life. Wooton, Davis, Hussell & Ellis, PLLC has played a key role in addressing the legal needs of veterans throughout the Mountain State, as well as filling the demand for more expertise in the ever-changing area of veteran’s law.

For more information about supporting the Veterans Advocacy Fellowship Program at the WVU College of Law, contact Jennie James, assistant dean for development, at jennie.james@mail.wvu.edu or 304.293.7367.

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