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Addressing the needs of veterans

Addressing the needs of veterans

You can provide invaluable help to Illinois veterans who need legal assistance—and gain meaningful practical lawyering skills—through an innovative program of Loyola’s Community Law Center.

Working under the supervision of clinical faculty, students at the new Loyola University Chicago Veterans Practicum will handle family law-related matters, minor and adult guardianships, and housing issues, and can execute simple wills/powers of attorney.

"Students enrolled in the new practicum will have the opportunity to hone their clinical skills while representing veterans and their families who are in need of both legal and social services,” says Theresa Ceko, director of the Community Law Center. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to represent Chicago’s veterans who have served their country with great honor but are often underserved themselves.”

A collaboration between the Community Law Center and Loyola’s School of Social Work, the practicum aims to bridge the gap in current services through a cross-disciplinary effort to better address local veterans’ social and legal needs.

A 2016 study conducted by the University of Southern California’s Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families and Loyola’s School of Social Work found that many service members leaving the military and returning to Chicagoland aren’t prepared for the transition home.

“A wide range of organizations are working to meet the needs of veterans, but few—if any—provide holistic social and civil legal support to veterans, active service members, and their families,” says Emily Vaughan, assistant director of the Community Law Center. “As a result, veterans and their families often find their housing in jeopardy and their family units unstable.”

Until now, veterans and their families have had to navigate multiple service providers to address intrinsically connected legal and social-emotional issues—but the study found that the more complex access becomes, the less likely veterans are to pursue services.

“Providing a single destination where veterans, active service members, and their families can come for legal services—as well as receive or be referred for social-emotional support—will help eliminate this major barrier to access and promote a healthy overall transition back to civilian life,” Vaughan says.

In order to qualify for legal representation through the practicum, veterans or their family members must meet a residency requirement and income guidelines, and cannot have been dishonorably discharged.  The Loyola University Chicago Veterans Practicum is a member of the Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network.

For details on applying for the clinic practicum, contact Emily Vaughan at or 312.915.7745.