William & Mary Law School's Lewis B. Puller, Jr. Veterans Benefits Clinic will receive a $25,000 grant this week from the Dominion Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Dominion Resources, parent company of Dominion Virginia Power, the Law School announced today. William & Mary will host a brief ceremony at 9:45 a.m. Wednesday at the Law School, which is located at 613 South Henry Street in Williamsburg. The public is invited to attend.
"Dominion and its employees have a long history of supporting our troops and our veterans," said Hunter Applewhite, Dominion Foundation's president. "This grant will help the Puller Clinic assist veterans in need, while also helping to plant the seed for a new advocacy program on veterans' behalf."
Davison M. Douglas, dean of the Law School, said the school was grateful for the vital support given by the Foundation to support the clinic's work and to promote coordinated efforts by law school veterans clinics nationwide. "This gift from the Dominion Foundation will impact the lives of injured and disabled veterans in Virginia and around the country," he said.
Speakers at Wednesday's ceremony will include Mr. Applewhite, Dean Douglas, Professor Patricia Roberts, Puller Clinic director and director of Clinical Programs, and Mr. Michael O'Banion (USMC 1976-1979), a representative of the Puller Clinic's clients.
The Puller Clinic offers William & Mary law students the opportunity to help veterans navigate through the process of filing disability compensation claims with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The students work under attorney supervision to interview clients, analyze their medical records, communicate with their health care providers and determine how best to proceed so that veterans receive benefits to which they are entitled.
The clinic was named in memory of Lewis B. Puller, Jr., who graduated from the College of William & Mary in 1967, joined the Marines, was badly wounded during service in Vietnam, and subsequently earned his law degree at William &Mary Law School in 1974. His 1991 memoir, "Fortunate Son: The Healing of a Vietnam Vet," was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1992 for autobiography/biography.
Part of the Dominion Foundation's grant will also be used for seed funding for the National Law School Veterans Clinic Coalition, a recently established organization created to provide a unified voice to identify and advance the needs of law school veterans clinics and, more importantly, the veterans they serve. It will serve as an advocate before the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Congress and other federal entities. With the seed funding from Dominion, it is hoped that the coalition will double its clinic membership in the coming year, and significantly increase the number of veterans served by law school clinics nationwide.
Thomas Jefferson founded William & Mary Law School in 1779 to train leaders for the new nation. Now in its third century, America's oldest law school continues its historic mission of educating citizen lawyers who are prepared both to lead and to serve.