George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School

M-VETS Assists Navy Veteran with Adoption and Expungement

The Mason Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic (“M-VETS”) successfully assisted a Navy Veteran with two civil matters in the Loudoun County Circuit Court.  In the first matter, M-VETS represented the Veteran in filing a Petition for Adoption of his nephew who has been residing with the Veteran for several years after his mother was incarcerated and his father deported.  The Loudoun County Circuit Court entered the Final Order of Adoption in April 2021.  Formalizing the adoptive parent relationship will enable the Veteran to provide assistance for his nephew to attend to college in the fall.

M-VETS also assisted the Veteran with a Petition for Expungement of a misdemeanor charge which had been previously dismissed by the Commonwealth Attorney.  M-VETS Student Advisor, Anne Cotter, represented the Veteran at the Expungement hearing after being admitted with her third-year practice certificate.   The Court granted the Petition and entered the Expungement Order in April 2021.  Cotter stated the following about the experience:  “I am very grateful to have been able to assist this veteran and his family. M-VETS has been the most rewarding part of my law school experience because I have been able to serve the veteran community while also gaining practical experience.”

“We are honored to be able to assist this Veteran and his family,” said M-VETS Deputy Director, Leigh Winstead.  “Our clinic aims to provide a comprehensive scope of services in order to assist more members of the military community and to provide legal assistance in as many areas as possible.  We were fortunate to be in a position to help this Veteran with two distinct legal issues,” Winstead said.

“Thank you, M-VETS for helping our family,” the Veteran said.  “We appreciate your services to all veterans.”

M-VETS provides free legal representation to veterans, active duty service members, and their families while allowing law students to gain practical legal experience under the supervision of practicing attorneys. M-VETS provides representation in a variety of matters including Virginia civil litigation matters, uncontested divorces, consumer protection matters, wills and powers of attorney, as well as assisting with matters before the VA and various administrative boards, including discharge upgrades, record corrections, military pay and entitlement matters, and VA disability benefit appeals.