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South Texas College of Law student honored
for tireless work with veterans

Derek C. pershingApril 16, 2012—South Texas College of Law second-year student Derek C. Pershing will be presented the Liberty Bell Award by the Houston Young Lawyers Association in May. The award is given to a non-lawyer who has made selfless contributions to his community to strengthen the effectiveness of the justice system. Pershing, a veteran Army medic, has worked for months with the Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program Veteran’s Clinic at the VA hospital.  Under the supervision of attorneys, he interviews and assists veterans, connecting them with services and lawyers as needed to find solutions and help.  “Derek has done truly outstanding work on veterans' legal issues, and he has developed a remarkable expertise in the area,” says Professor Matthew Festa, a current JAG reservist.

At South Texas, Pershing helped lead efforts to implement the VA’s Yellow Ribbon tuition assistance program at the college following federal cuts to the GI Bill education funding. “Instead of simply accepting the status quo, Derek was able to effectuate a major change to the tuition and fees required from veterans,” says Professor Geoffrey Corn, a retired Army JAGC officer. “His efforts will not only benefit countless veterans who enroll at South Texas in the future, but also South Texas itself by ensuring that these exceptional men and women pursue their legal studies among our student body,” says Corn. Currently, there are approximately 30 veterans enrolled at South Texas.

Pershing, a native of Montana, will be honored at the HYLA/HYLF Law Day Luncheon on May 1 at the Four Seasons Hotel.  For more information, please contact Sheila Hansel at or 713-646-1799.













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