Estate planning

The Grant will help the SIU School of Law Clinic expand civil law services for veterans and their families


Dale Ashman

Dale Ashiman is Director of the Civil Practice Clinic at SIU Law School.

August 18, 2023

The Grant will help the SIU School of Law Clinic expand civil law services for veterans and their families

by Pete Rosenberry

CARBONDALE, IL – A recent grant from the Illinois Barr Foundation (IBF) will allow Southern Illinois University School of Law Civil practice clinic To expand basic estate planning and other civil law services to veterans and their immediate families.

The clinic provides free services to people aged 60 and over in the region’s 13 southernmost counties. He said the $15,000 IBF grant will enable veterans and their immediate families, including spouses, of all ages to be able to access the same services. Dale J AshmanClinical Assistant Professor of Law in the Civil Practice Clinic. Besides helping with estate planning, Ashman expects students to assist with other civil matters, including adult guardianship, power of attorney for health care and finances.

“I think the estate planning aspect of the law and what the students provide and the attention to detail that they provide is a valuable service,” said Ashman. “It’s such a joy that we can offer it to veterans of any age. People don’t like to think of their affairs in terms of death, but I routinely see from my own perspective the consequences of what happens if you don’t prepare and what’s left for your family.

Like SIU Law School It celebrates its fiftieth anniversaryServing the public interest and providing integrated experiential opportunities to its students has remained the hallmark of the Law School since its first term in 1973.

Students hone skills

Eight second or third year students will participate each semester and can earn 3 credit hours, which includes classroom work. Students will receive a 711 license, which, under Supreme Court Rule 711, will allow them to appear in court, counsel clients, and prepare documents under Ashman’s supervision. After conducting an initial interview with clients, students will conduct interviews, prepare and review drafts with clients, execute documents, and answer questions clients may have. Aschiman noted that these interactions allow students to hone key skills including time management, attention to detail, and active listening.

Students will also meet with clients in their homes and hospitals, if necessary.

“The value for the students is that they get a real connection with these clients, and that they are able to experience all that is involved,” Ashman said.

Ashiman is in his third semester of law school and credits the work of Rebecca O’Neill, Clinical Professor Emeritus in the School of Law in the Civil Practice Clinic, which also consists of a juvenile justice clinic to assist children with abuse and neglect.

The legal clinic now sees about 400 cases a year, and Ashman hopes the clinic can help at least 40 veterans a year. Aschemann said the clinic will continue to provide counseling on veterans’ benefits, and he plans to visit veterans’ service organizations to discuss the new program. Scholarship funds will cover expenses such as travel, staff assistance and registration fees, when necessary.

access to justice

SIU Law School was one of four colleges in the state to receive funding for the IBF Law School’s new Legal Clinic Scholarship Program. One of the core tenets of one of the programs, Aschemann noted, is access to justice for underrepresented groups.

“The IBF recognizes the critical role that law schools play in educating and training law students to become the future of the legal profession while meeting the legal needs of the most vulnerable members of Illinois society,” said Stacy Wheeler, IBF’s Director of Grants and Access to Justice Program. “This partnership with SIU helps expand IBF’s reach statewide, and we are proud to help create the legal clinic and student capacity to provide civil legal services to veterans throughout southern Illinois this year.”

For more information about the program or assistance, call the Civics Practice Clinic at 800-673-6130.


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