In partnership with the American Legion Post 139, M-VETS opened a new office co-located in the newly redeveloped Post 139 Headquarters to provide free legal advice and referral services to the military community. The Grand Opening took place on May 11, 2023. It included remarks by M-VETS Director Timothy MacArthur, Secretary of Virginia’s Department of Veterans and Defense Affairs Craig Crenshaw, and a keynote address by Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin.
Post 139 recently completed an $80 million public-private redevelopment of its headquarters on the ground floor of Terwilliger Place, a 160-unit affordable housing apartment complex with 50% veterans’ preference supported by the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing. Tabbed as “Leisure, Lodging, and Legal,” the 6,000-square-foot headquarters will not only serve the social and housing needs of local veterans but will offer legal services and access to vital veterans benefits.
M-VETS new outpost at Post 139 headquarters will be staffed by a licensed attorney, M-VETS Assistant Director, Raphael Johnson, an Army Veteran and former M-VETS student advisor. Mr. Johnson will provide in-person legal advice to veterans on various legal issues and offer referral services to ensure those veterans are connected with the appropriate legal resources. The Virginia Department of Veterans Services (“VDVS”) will also have a permanent office at Post 139 Headquarters to assist with VA claims, education benefits, and employment resources.
“We are very excited to open a new office at the American Legion Post 139 Headquarters to provide vital legal services to our military community,” M-VETS Director Timothy MacArthur said. “This project has been years in the making, and we are excited for the opportunity to expand our legal services in partnership with Post 139 and VDVS.”
“I am excited for the opportunity to rejoin M-VETS and to be able to give back to the veteran community in such an impactful way,” said M-VETS Assistant Director Raphael Johnson. “We have worked with the leadership at Post 139 to ensure that our clients can efficiently schedule appointments and receive timely access to legal consultations in a secure environment.”
In 2020, M-VETS began a capital campaign to secure funding to hire a third attorney to staff the new M-VETS office. The tireless work of M-VETS staff and University development raised funds to hire a third attorney part-time. The vision for the M-VETS office at Post 139 is to secure funding to hire a full-time attorney to provide legal consultations and direct legal representation and expand the legal practice areas offered by the clinic.
“We are very proud of our efforts to bring this vision to life, but our work is far from done,” M-VETS Deputy Director Leigh Winstead added. “We are continuing our capital campaign to make the third attorney position self-sustaining in a full-time capacity and to further expand the legal services offered by M-VETS.”
M-VETS provides free legal services to veterans, service members, and their dependents in a variety of civil matters, including uncontested divorces, landlord/tenant matters, consumer protection, and contract disputes, as well as in military/VA administrative matters, including MEB/PEBs, Discharge Upgrades, Boards for Correction of Military Records, and VA disability compensation appeals. M-VETS is currently accepting applications for appointments to the M-VETS American Legion Post 139 Advice and Referral Clinic: https://mvets.law.gmu.edu/apply/