Veterans Legal Clinic

Ellie Morales (JD ’10), Director of the Veterans Legal Clinic, gave remarks about the clinic at a Veterans Day Ceremony on Nov. 11, 2021, that honored several of the clinic's clients.

Wake Forest University honors Eleanor Morales (JD ’10), Director of the Veterans Legal Clinic, as a Decorated Deac

For Ellie Morales (JD ’10), it was her experiences during a Department of Defense internship while attending Davidson College on an Army ROTC and a swimming scholarship that solidified her desire to pursue a legal education.

“Seeing real-life military and government civilian lawyers impact national and international events persuaded me to become a lawyer,” she says. “I thought that being a military lawyer would be the best way I could make an impact in the service of others and my country.”

Her career spent doing just that and more led Wake Forest University to honor Morales as the “Decorated Deac” during the football game against N.C. State on Nov. 13. The recognition is among many she’s received for her service to her country and clients throughout her career — which has most recently brought her back to Wake Forest Law as the Director of the Veterans Legal Clinic to supervise students as they work with former service members to correct injustices in their military records.

“What I enjoy most about teaching at Wake Forest Law is the same reason I chose to come to Wake as a law student: the community, including the faculty, staff, and students,” says Morales. “It’s a supportive environment that fosters growth and learning.”

Immediately after graduating from law school, Morales joined the Army Judge Advocate General Corps, first serving as a legal assistance attorney and later as a military criminal prosecutor while stationed at Fort Hood in Texas. In 2013, she volunteered to deploy to Kabul, Afghanistan, as an operational law attorney, where she advised a senior-level commander on the rules of engagement and the law of armed conflict supporting the International Security Assistance Force and U.S. forces. The position offered her the opportunity to collaborate with not only service members from multiple military branches, but also military lawyers from around the world.

Returning to Fort Hood about a year later, she then went on to attend airborne school at Fort Benning in Georgia and became part of the 82nd Airborne Division stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, where she advised a brigade commander on legal actions. Upon transitioning into the Army Reserves in 2015, where she currently serves as an Army judge advocate in the rank of Major, she worked as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Department of Justice for five years. In 2019, Morales and her colleague received the DOJ Director’s Award for Superior Performance for their work successfully prosecuting the first sex trafficking trial in the Eastern District of North Carolina.

She says her experiences as a law student in her criminal law and evidence courses, as well as in the Innocence and Justice Clinic, had an impact on her work after law school.

“They formed how I viewed justice and influenced me as a military and federal prosecutor,” she says.

But according to Morales, it’s the law school’s deeply personal and flexible approach that leaves a lasting impact on its alumni.

“Each law student has the flexibility to decide their own path,” she says. “Wake encourages and fosters diverse careers for its students, who graduate as well-rounded lawyers and possess strong legal writing skills. They’re lawyers who are hardworking and focused on serving others and their communities.”


The mission of Wake Forest Law is to advance the cause of justice by creating knowledge and educating students to meet the legal needs of the world with confidence, character, and creativity. We instill in students a respect for the law, a devotion to the ideal of service, and a commitment to professional values. We educate students from around the world in a richly diverse, equitable, and inclusive community. Learn more at law.wfu.edu, and stay up to date on what’s happening in the Wake Forest Law community by following us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

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Media Roundup for the week of April 20, 2018

Wake Forest School of Law faculty, students, and staff are quoted regularly in the media. Following are the media mentions for the week of April 20, 2018: Continue reading »

Photo of Chris Salemme (JD '17) and Sarah Saint (JD '17)

Chris Salemme (JD ’17) publishes article in Brigham Young University Journal of Public Law

Chris Salemme (JD ’17) has had the article, “Unpatriotic Profit: How For-Profit Colleges Target Veterans and What the Government Must Do to Stop Them,” published in the Brigham Young University Journal of Public Law.

The article ”explores the for-profit education industry, its history of deceitful recruitment of veterans, the federal government’s attempts at reform, and what steps need to be taken by the Trump administration and Congress to protect veterans and taxpayer dollars from private industry exploitation.” Continue reading »

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Media Roundup for the week of Dec. 1, 2017

Wake Forest Law faculty, students and staff are quoted regularly in the media. Following are the media mentions for the week of Dec. 1 2017:

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Veterans Legal Clinic’s pro bono work with discharge upgrades gives vets hope

With renewed interest being given to veterans concerning Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other combat-related mental illnesses and addictions, the Wake Forest University School of Law’s Veterans Legal Clinic has turned its attention to representing qualified veterans in discharge upgrade petitions. Continue reading »

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Medal of Honor recipient speaks to help raise support for Veterans Legal Clinic

Wake Forest Law welcomed U.S. Army Capt. Florent “Flo” Groberg to the Worrell Professional Center on Wednesday, March 15. His presentation, “Opportunities Earned and Leadership Learned: An American Hero’s Journey,” was co-sponsored by Bank of America in an effort to raise financial support and student engagement for the Veterans Legal Clinic. Capt. Groberg also made a similar presentation later that day at the Wake Forest University Charlotte Center, where he was introduced by former U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Brandon Heffinger (JD ’14). Continue reading »

Photo of Veterans Legal Clinic presentation given by Brandon Heffinger (JD '14)

Veterans Legal Clinic featured on Mic.com Network

The Veterans Legal Clinic is featured in the following story, “In Service of Those Who Served: Law Schools & Veterans Legal Clinics,” written by Thomas Tobin and published on Mic.com Network on Feb. 22, 2017.

For many of America’s veterans, help is coming from an unlikely source—the local law school. From Harvard and Yale to Widener and Wake Forest, law students are providing legal assistance to veterans through clinical programs.

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Photo of Captain Florent Groberg, Medal of Honor Recipient, Operation Enduring Freedom

Medal of Honor recipient to speak on behalf of Veterans Legal Clinic on Wednesday, March 15, in Winston-Salem, Charlotte

Wake Forest Law will host two events, co-sponsored by Bank of America, on Wednesday, March 15 — one in Winston-Salem and one in Charlotte —  to highlight the work of the law school’s new Veterans Legal Clinic. The keynote speaker is U.S. Army Capt. Florent “Flo” Groberg whose presentation is entitled, “Opportunities Earned and Leadership Learned: An American Hero’s Journey.”

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Graphic of the state of North Carolina with American flag superimposed on state outline. Military crests line the bottom of the seal: 'Department of the Air Force United States of America' 'Department of the Army United States of America 1775' 'Department of the Navy United States Marine Corps' 'United States Merchant Marine' 'Department of the Navy' 'United States of America'

VALOR to celebrate Veterans Awareness Week Nov. 7-12 with Marine Corps cake cutting ceremony, veterans recognition ceremony

In honor of Veteran’s Day on Friday, Nov. 11, and Veterans Awareness Week on Nov. 7-12, the Veterans Advocacy Law Organization (VALOR) is sponsoring a number of events at the law school including a Marine Corps birthday cake cutting ceremony, says VALOR President Chris Salemme (JD ’17), 1st Lieutenant, U.S. Army.

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Group photo of Professor Steve Virgil and Josh Harper (JD '16) discussing issues facing veterans

TWC News features new free Veterans Legal Clinic

The law school’s new Veterans Legal Clinic is featured in the following story by TWC News. The original story can be found here.

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