New support group helps Veterans

Scott Childress

For Scott Childress, a 3L at Charleston School of Law, the Veterans Support Group was an opportunity to help students navigate some of the challenges of law school.

“It can be an adjustment to civilian life, especially if you are coming right out of the military. I’d say there’s more ambiguity in law school that you don’t necessarily see where in the military.”

The Veteran’s Support Group at the law school started meeting Fall 2022, gathering once a month. Childress said the program is already paying dividends after just a handful of meetings.

“We have different backgrounds and experience,” he said. “We share our experiences and it help us navigate the challenges. I have been able to share my keys to success, things that I’ve found challenging and what I learned from my failures.”

Childress served in the Air Force Reserves after graduating from high school. Then, after earning his undergraduate degree (Wright State, 2006) and graduate degree (American Military University, 2009), he enlisted in the Navy full-time, where he spent seven years.

Briana Suhr is an intern for Lawyers Helping Lawyers, a program available to law school students experiencing challenges with substance use, mental health illnesses and/or stress-related issues.

She is currently working on her master’s degree in mental health counseling from the University of South Carolina, and serves at Charleston Law as an advocate for mental health, meeting with students on issues related to character and fitness, depression, and anxiety.

“Briana is not a veteran, so a lot of it was listening and talking through things and facilitating the conversation,” said Childress. “She has done a great job.”

Both Suhr and Childress noted that stress is a common topic of discussion.

It’s interesting, you have a certain type of stress while you’re in the military, but it’s operational stress,” said Childress. “Maybe in a combat zone or something like that. Then you get to law school and there’s a different type of stress. It’s not life or death. I don’t have my commanding officer or my drill instructor screaming at me. But it’s still stress – a different type of stress.

“There are veterans in the group that point out that most law students have not been in the extreme stress of the military, and they wonder, why is this stressing you? People have different experiences. The military is very structured mindset. You’re told where to go, what to do. You’re getting strict training.”

The Career Services department at Charleston School of Law offers a variety of programs and events to support students. From one-on-one counseling to career planning, intern and externship opportunities, pro bono work and more, students are encouraged to visit us online or in-person for details.