History of Veterans Law Institute

The Veterans Law Institute (VLI) was founded in 2012 and led by former Stetson Law Professor and VLI Director Michael Allen. With a generous donation from Judge Raphael Steinhardt (Stetson Law ’63), the Veterans Advocacy Clinic was able to move into a small house on the perimeter of the campus.

Over the years, the VLI has added staff and students to aid in its mission. It is now directed by Professor Stacey-Rae Simcox. In 2018, the VLI moved to its current home in the Veterans Building on Stetson’s campus.

Original VLI

Original VLI

The new VLI is designed specifically to accommodate our veteran clients and students in the workspace. The space is intended to provide a “healing environment.” It includes such aspects as:

  • Cognitive mapping;
  • An open format to avoid hidden corners or closed-off spaces;
  • State-of-the-art indirect lightning to alleviate the sensitivity of brain traumas;
  • Acoustic considerations for hearing disorders and privacy; and
  • Interior design that creates familiarity, calm, and comfort

The VLI is a unique wellness-based legal environment and is a gem of Stetson Law’s campus. Click here to see the plans designed by JAH Architects, LLC. 

Current VLI Building

Current VLI

The Veterans Law Institute is housed in a building named for Judge Raphael “Ray” Steinhardt, a Stetson Law alumnus with a passion for giving back – especially to those who have served in the military.

Judge Steinhardt

Judge Raphael Steinhard (Stetson '63)

Judge Steinhardt, J.D. ’63, was inducted into the Stetson Law Hall of Fame in 2013. His enduring generosity toward the College of Law includes endowing a scholarship for student veterans and supporting the Institute’s daily operations. Without the contributions of Judge Steinhardt, the VLI’s critical work would not be possible.