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Headshot of Michael A. Argenal

Michael A. Argenal

  • Hosted by San Antonio Legal Services Association (SALSA)
  • Sponsored by Texas Access to Justice Foundation
  • Service location San Antonio, Texas
  • Law school St. Mary’s University School of Law
  • Issue area Family Law, Veterans' Rights
  • Fellowship class year 2024
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Michael advocates, represents, and mediates for veterans to address niche family law issues that stem from the unique circumstances that veterans and their families face.

More than 159,000 veterans and 80,000 active-duty military service members call San Antonio, Texas home. With one of the largest concentrations of military bases in the United States, San Antonio has earned the title of “Military City, USA.” With such a large population of veterans comes a great need for veterans to have affordable access to legal services. The stressors of military life, from deployments overseas to long hours at home, create stressful circumstances that the entire military family unit has to bear. Both the dependents of our veterans and their extended families face unique issues when that family unit is troubled. From child custody disputes crossing state lines and even overseas to the division of assets in divorces involving military disability compensation, pensions, and retirements, these matters require a high level of subject-matter expertise. Such expertise is paramount to ensuring that our servicemembers and their families get the highest quality of legal assistance they deserve. Veterans and their families need a comprehensive response to their family law needs. They need zealous, cost-effective, and efficient solutions in resolving their claims both inside and outside of the courtroom.

Michael’s family history, which includes several of his family members having served honorably in the U.S. Armed Forces, motivates his commitment to expanding legal access in the military community.

Fellowship Plans

Michael plans to address these unique challenges during his Fellowship by running a bifurcated military family law clinic with his host organization. In this clinic, Michael will advocate for the use of alternative dispute resolution methods through family law mediation. If a veteran has already tried to use family law mediation or elects not to choose Michael (or a network of volunteer mediators) as a mediator, Michael will zealously represent the veteran in court or will refer the matter to an established network of volunteer attorneys. Michael also intends to educate the local San Antonio Bar Association and other legal providers on the nuances of military family law issues. This training of other lawyers in these unique legal issues will allow for the continuity of Michael’s mission so that veterans in San Antonio have access to legal providers with the necessary subject-matter expertise to assist in their legal matters long after his Fellowship ends.

As the son of a 100 percent disabled veteran, and as someone who grew up in the military community and who witnessed the hardships a military family endures, I felt a strong sense of personal responsibility in ensuring the best possible outcome for our veterans and their families.

Michael A. Argenal /
2024 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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