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Chester, Pa. - Widener Law announced today that it is expanding the services of its Veterans Law Clinic
- which has collected more than $1 million in benefits for disabled veterans and their dependents - to assist veterans across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
The clinic recently hired two attorneys who will staff new offices on the Main Campus of Widener University in Chester, Pa., and on the university's Harrisburg Campus of the School of Law. According to Widener School of Law Professor Tom Reed
, director of the Veterans Law Clinic, the expansion of the clinic is made possible by a $250,000 grant approved by the Pennsylvania General Assembly and distributed by the state's Department of Education.
"All of our clients are unable to afford to hire a lawyer on a fee-paying basis," Reed said. "Many of them have no income other than their Veterans Administration benefits, and several are homeless. For most of the veterans we serve, the Veterans Law Clinic is their only legal recourse to obtaining the benefits that they deserve, but have been denied."
Formerly known as the Veterans Assistance Program [law school program page], the Veterans Law Clinic has provided free legal services to disabled veterans and their dependents since 1997. It is the only veterans law clinic in Pennsylvania and one of only a few in the United States, Reed said.
"Pennsylvania has one of the highest populations of veterans in the United States," Reed said. "It is the birthplace of freedom and democracy in our nation, and our goal is to help provide the veterans in the commonwealth with the benefits they have literally fought for and earned."
The clinic provides assistant for veterans in cases involving Veterans Administration compensation, discharge review, and special matters including social security appeals and employment discrimination.
The Chester office of the Veterans Law Clinic is staffed by Susan Saidel, a 1995 graduate of Widener University School of Law. She is responsible for all claimants from Bucks, Berks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties. Saidel is an experienced disability law attorney, employed by New Jersey Protection and Advocacy, Inc., a Trenton-based public interest law firm. Prior to joining her present firm, she was a staff attorney for Camden Regional Legal Services, Inc. The office is located in University Technology Park I, 1450 Edgmont Ave. in Chester. To contact the Chester office of the Veterans Law Clinic, call 610-874-1351.
The Harrisburg office of the Veterans Law Clinic is staffed by Jeremiah Underhill, a 2006 graduate of Widener University School of Law. He is responsible for all veterans cases in central and western Pennsylvania. He maintains his own practice in downtown Harrisburg. The office is located at 3800 Vartan Way in Harrisburg. To contact the Harrisburg office of the Veterans Law Clinic, call 717-541-3983.
[CAPTION: Clinic Director Professor Thomas Reed]