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News | January 28, 2019
2 minute read

Warner, Law Students, Local Bar Associations Draft Wills for Veterans

In a marathon session on Saturday, more than a dozen law students partnered with attorneys at Warner Norcross + Judd LLP to draft more than 100 wills free of charge for veterans and their families.

The day-long session is the second step in the Wills for Veterans program, a partnership between two local bar associations designed to draft a simple will, durable power of attorney and patient advocate designation for a veteran or spouse, widow or widower of a veteran. The Western District of Michigan Chapter of the Federal Bar Association and the Veterans Bar Association of Grand Rapids hosted an initial intake session before Veterans Day 2018 – and the response was overwhelming, according to Warner partner Brian Lennon.

“We were gratified that the Wills for Veterans program resonated so deeply in West Michigan,” said Lennon, himself a veteran who led the firm’s drafting efforts on Saturday. “We know there are a lot of veterans, especially those who are older, who don’t have the ‘Big 3’ when it comes to estate planning documents.

“As lawyers, this is our way to offer something tangible and valuable to say thank you to the men and women who have served our country. The enthusiasm of the Western Michigan Cooley Law School student volunteers to assist has made this process especially meaningful.”

Saturday’s session relied on volunteers like Kevin Dennis, a second-year law student from Western Michigan Cooley, and himself a disabled veteran who served with the U.S. Army and Navy.

“A lot of veterans, like myself, are very intent and heartfelt when it comes to giving back and supporting our community,” said Dennis, who commutes to Grand Rapids from his home in Plainwell. “As a whole, Cooley is extremely supportive of that endeavor. It has given us the chance to reinvigorate our student-veterans organization on campus.

“It’s great to partner with Warner, which is a recognized leader in our community. As law students, we can get some of that experience as well by partnering with a firm that truly cares about our community.”

All documents will be reviewed by practicing attorneys before they are finalized and shared with veterans. Lennon said he expect more than 30 attorneys and law students have participated in Wills for Veterans, from the initial intake in November 2018 through delivery of finished documents.

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