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How Student Legal Services Supports Student Retention & Best Practices for Student Legal Services.

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Presentation on theme: "How Student Legal Services Supports Student Retention & Best Practices for Student Legal Services."— Presentation transcript:

1 How Student Legal Services Supports Student Retention & Best Practices for Student Legal Services

2 Why Do College Students Need Lawyers?

3 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

4 Often times, students … Have a fear of authority Are overwhelmed by classes Work 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.

5 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.

6 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 weakness International students become confused and quickly overwhelmed Their situation may encourage them to drop out and go home.

7 International students are a critical source of revenue for Universities. 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.

8 The presence of a Student Legal Services program can help to prevent suicides. Suicide is the 2 nd 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.

9 Financial Aid In , 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

10 A Comprehensive SLS Department can Provide Services to the Broader University Community & Subsets of the Student Body: International Students Veterans Students with Disabilities Underrepresented Groups Pre-Law Societies Distance Education Students Transfer Students Commuter Students Orientation Students

11 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

12 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 PTSD Other disabilities Acclimation to civilian/college life Veterans Services

13 Special Group: Students with Disabilities In , 11% of undergraduates have reported having a disability Orthopedic conditions: 7% ADD/ADHD: 23% 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

14 Special Group: Minorities Often under-represented Constitutionally & State Law protected groups: Gender Race Ethnicity Age Religion Nationality Marital Status Title VII & Retaliation / Employment Discrimination LGTB

15 Other Services SLS can provide Hazing/Bullying Alcohol/DWI/CDS 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 FERPA Privacy/Identity Theft Estate Planning Power of Attorney’s, Wills, Advanced Directives,

16 Student Legal Services Best Practices Ethics / Conflicts of Interest Services Provided or Excluded Budget Staffing Professional Development /Professional Organizations Space Legal Educational Programming Department Review Assessment

17 Ethics Texas Disciplinary Rules of Profession Conduct Rules-of-Disciplinary-Procedure.aspx State Bar of Texas Ethics Opinions State Bar of Texas Ethics Hotline (For Attorneys Only) Note: 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.

18 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 ImmigrationBusiness Entity FormationTaxation Bankruptcy Issue Involving Another University Student or the University

19 Budget Items Staffing 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) Travel State Bar Fees Local, Regional, & National Bar Association Dues Malpractice Insurance Marketing Equipment (Technology): computers, scanner, printer/copier/fax, & ipad,

20 Staffing 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)

21 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 Recommendations: 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 (CLE) Attend National Legal Aid and Defender Student Legal Services Annual Conference (CLE)

22 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

23 Space 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. Considerations: File storage Accessibility Staffing of the Office Mediation Adequate space to meet with clients Waiting area

24 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.

25 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 program) * After each step of the program audit, develop an action plan to address weaknesses

26 Assessment 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)

27 Contact Information: Keisha A. Ware, JD UT Arlington Attorney for The Students E.E. Davis Hall Rm#216 Box Arlington, TX Ph: Fax:

28 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


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