Project SALUTE of the University of Detroit Mercy (UDM) School of Law was on a unique mission: it hit the highways to provide priceless legal advice to low income veterans for free and teach students the invaluable lesson of using the law to serve. UDM students involved in Project SALUTE saw, in a very real way, how the law is used to assist persons in need. The training and experience inculcated in many students a desire to pursue lifelong pro bono service as part of their legal career.
Beginning in February 2008, students, faculty and staff of Project SALUTE traveled throughout Michigan and the country in two custom designed and built Mobile Law Offices (MLOs). One generously donated by GM and the other by an anonymous donor. Project SALUTE’s MLOs have traveled more than 100,000 miles to 25 states. In this classroom-on-wheels, UDM Law students experienced a higher level of hands-on training than any other law school currently offered. Along the way, Project SALUTE developed a national network of Pro bono Attorneys to provide free legal services to the men and women who have served their country and now need assistance with their Federal Veterans’ Disability and Pension Benefits claim.
Today, Project SALUTE conducts outreach clinics at select locations in Wayne County for veterans seeking advice and assistance with their VA benefit appeals, hosts the annual Veterans Stand Down Macomb in Warren, and Coordinates the Homeless Veterans Treatment Court for the SE Michigan Veterans Stand Down in Detroit.