Why College Students Need Lawyers

How Student Legal Services Supports
Student Retention & Best Practices for
Student Legal Services
Why Do College Students Need Lawyers?
The Role of the Attorney in Student Development
Even a minor legal issue can completely derail student
development, academic progress, and career and family plans.
Having a lawyer to consult can prevent:
• Loss of scholarships and financial aid
• Loss of graduate school opportunities
• Loss of security clearances
• Loss of commission
• Deportation
Often times, students …
Have a fear of authority
Are overwhelmed by classes
Have families
Have financial issues
Are naïve
Legal issues are often the final icing on the cake. Students don’t have the
time, energy, or resources to deal with legal issues on top of all of their
existing problems.
Legal issues can cause students to perform poorly and even drop out.
A lack of of legal advice availability to students threatens a
diverse community.
Currently UT Arlington is…
19.2 percent Hispanic
14.7 percent African American
9.7 percent Asian
8.5 percent international
0.4 percent Native American
More than half of UT Arlington’s student body is comprised of minorities and a
large international student population. Students often do not have the extra
expendable income for an attorney. In the absence of free legal advice provided
by UT Arlington, many students will have to choose between their education and
resolving their legal issues. Since legal issues are often urgent, some students
may drop out. Therefore, providing students with legal services has a direct
impact on student retention.
International students are at greatest risk of damage due
to legal issues.
Often times…
Their viewpoint on the law can vary
Their cultural background, customs, and traditions may
adversely influence their legal decisions
Culturally, seeking help is often considered a sign of
International students become confused and quickly
Their situation may encourage them to drop out and go
International students are a critical source of revenue for
UT Arlington currently has over
2,100 students that bring in more
than $35,900,000 in revenue just in
tuition and not including housing.
When legal problems arise, international students need a reliable source of
knowledgeable advice, since they are often far away from their families and
know next to nothing about the American legal system.
Without Student Legal Services programs, many students may drop
out, and Universities lose an opportunity for revenue.
The presence of a Student Legal Services program can
help to prevent suicides.
Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among traditional college-age
students (20-24 years)
It is estimated that 1088 suicides occur on college campuses each year
The American College Health Association (ACHA) surveyed 16,000
students from 28 colleges and universities, and the data suggests that:
• 1,520 have seriously contemplated suicide
• 240 have made a suicide attempt
Students face problems on a daily basis, from financial issues to family issues.
Often they go to school and work full time. An added legal problem without
access to free professional help may push some students over the edge.
Financial Aid
• In 2007-2008, 66% of undergraduate students
received some type of financial aid.
• Often tied to academic performance
and/or full time status, both of which
can be hindered by legal issues
• Includes Pell Grants, Work Study,
and other scholarships
• GI Bill
A Comprehensive SLS Department can Provide Services to the Broader
University Community & Subsets of the Student Body:
International Students
Students with Disabilities
Underrepresented Groups
Pre-Law Societies
Distance Education Students
Transfer Students
Commuter Students
Orientation Students
Special Group: International Students
• Passport/Visa Issues
• Student visas can limit the type of employment that one can
have; violation of these regulations can result in deportation
• Immigration/Documentation
• Immigration concerns may arise in relation to a student’s
family or themselves (Ex: Obtaining a green card or visa)
• Impact of criminal charges
• Risk of deportation (Ex: Effect of Deferred Adjudication)
Common Legal Issues:
Landlord Tennant, Auto Accidents, Traffic Citations, & Family Law
Special Group: Veterans
GI Bill Time Limits: 36 Months
Impact of course failure
Impact of program failure
Job/Housing/Family Issues
Future Military Careers
Prior Records
Other disabilities
Acclimation to civilian/college life
Veterans Services
Special Group: Students with Disabilities
• In 2008-2009, 11% of undergraduates have reported
having a disability
Orthopedic conditions: 7%
Mental Illness or Depression: 15%
Health Impairment: 11%
• Student Legal Services can help by providing advice on
the Americans with Disabilities Act and the
Rehabilitation Act
Special Group: Minorities
• Often under-represented
• Constitutionally & State Law protected groups:
• Gender
• Race
• Ethnicity
• Age
• Religion
• Nationality
• Marital Status
• Title VII & Retaliation / Employment Discrimination
Other Services SLS can provide
Assault/Battery/Domestic Violence
File Sharing
• Downloading music, movies, etc.
Landlord/Tenant relationship
• Leases, security deposits, conditions, accessibility, discrimination,
unlawful entry, withholding rent
Free Speech
• Internet, classrooms, residence halls, recreation centers, athletic
events, protests
Privacy/Identity Theft
Estate Planning
• Power of Attorney’s, Wills, Advanced Directives,
Student Legal Services Best Practices
Ethics / Conflicts of Interest
Services Provided or Excluded
Professional Development /Professional Organizations
Legal Educational Programming
Department Review
Texas Disciplinary Rules of Profession Conduct
State Bar of Texas Ethics Opinions
State Bar of Texas Ethics Hotline (For Attorneys Only)
FERPA does not govern Student Legal Services (Attorney Client Privilege & Confidentiality)
trump FERPA in regards to Student Legal Services. Any requests for client files or
information may not be released without a written waiver from the student.
Services Provided or Excluded
Determine the Scope of the Office
• Representation (Civil / Criminal) / (Contested / Uncontested)
• Limited Representation (Ex: Auto Accident Settlement)
• Advice & Counsel w/ Limited Representation
• Advice & Counsel Only
Other Services
• Mediation
• Notary
Excluded Services
• Immigration
Business Entity Formation
• Bankruptcy
• Issue Involving Another University Student or the University
Budget Items
M&O (office supplies, copy leases, phone, fax, postage)
Legal Research Database (Lexis-Nexis or Westlaw)
Legal Forms Database (Pro Docs)
Legal Reference Materials (Ex: Family Law Practice Manuel, Codes)
Professional Development: (Continuing Legal Education / State Bar College)
State Bar Fees
Local, Regional, & National Bar Association Dues
Malpractice Insurance
Equipment (Technology): computers, scanner, printer/copier/fax, & ipad,
Number of Attorneys
• Student Population
• Goal * (1 full-time attorney for every 15,000 students)
Support Staff
• Administrative Assistant - designated exclusively for SLS to avoid
conflicts of interest (Full-Time)
• Law Clerk(s) / If you are in an area close to Law School or a
Paralegal Program
• Student Workers / Graduate Assistant/ Webmaster
• Student Intern(s)
Professional Development
Continuing Legal Education, (CLE) * Required
• 15 hours at least (3) hours (ethics/ professional responsibility) annually
Membership in the Texas Bar College
• Initially, 80 hours within a (3) calendar year or 45 hours within the current year
• Maintain membership - 30 CLE hours annually
• Become a member or the Texas Bar College and maintain membership
• Attend at least one topic specific CLE program per year
• Attend University Student Legal Services Western Region Annual Conference
• Attend National Legal Aid and Defender Student Legal Services Annual
Conference (CLE)
Professional Organizations
• State Bar of Texas Sections
• Local Bar Associations
• National Bar Associations Ex: ABA, NBA
Student Legal Services Professional Organizations
• National Legal Aid & Defenders: University Student Legal Services
Section * President, Mark J. Karon, University of Minnesota SLS
• Western Region University Student Legal Services Association
* President, Sylvia Holmes, UT Austin/Texas State San Marcos SLS
Note: Both organizations maintain a listserv & are a valuable network
• Student Legal Services should NOT share office space with other departments
due to confidentiality issues.
• Student Legal Services should be housed in a location separate and apart from
other departments. (Ex: SLS Office Suite)
• There should be adequate space to accommodate the needs of the office.
• File storage
• Accessibility
• Staffing of the Office
• Mediation
• Adequate space to meet with clients
• Waiting area
Legal Education Programming
SLS can provide valuable preventative and know your rights programing on various
legal hot topics relevant to the populations they serve:
Landlord Tennant Seminar
Identity Theft
Criminal Background Checks & Employment / Implications of Social Media
Family Law Seminar
Immigration Law Seminar
Estate Planning Workshop
Orientation Session (Parents / Students / International Students)
Don’t Get Busted BBQ : Know Your Rights When Confronted by the Police
Law Mentoring Dinner
Partner with other departments on campus to present programs to a variety of
students & organizations. SLS is available to student groups and organizations to
make presentations.
Department Review
Types of Review
• Strategic Planning
• Annual Reports
• Budget Allocation Presentations
Program Audit (Ex: CAS)
• Self Assessment
• Internal Review (Team from within the university community)
• External Review (Attorney from another SLS institution reviews the
* After each step of the program audit, develop an action plan to
address weaknesses
Benchmarking with comparable or peer institutions
Annually Review Mission Statement
Annually conduct a Needs Assessment
Annually Develop & Assess Learning Outcomes
Client Satisfaction Survey
Assess Legal Education Programming (Rubric)
Contact Information:
Keisha A. Ware, JD
UT Arlington
Attorney for The Students
E.E. Davis Hall Rm#216
Box 19270
Arlington, TX 76019
Ph: 817-272-3771
Fax: 817-272-0185
Email: [email protected]
Special thanks to the following for assistance with putting together the materials
for this presentation :
UT Arlington Student Legal Services Law Clerk / Paralegal , La’Shundra Tucker
UT Arlington Student Legal Services Undergraduate Intern, Sami Ghubril
Rutgers University Student Legal Services
UT Austin Student Legal Services
Texas Tech University Student Legal Services
Texas State at San Marcos Student Legal Services
University of North Texas Student Legal Services