Students’ access to licensed attorneys covers many common legal issues

September 18, 2014 | UToday
By Cynthia Nowak

You’re moving out and the landlord suddenly tells you that your security deposit is nonrefundable after all.

Your brand-new car is still shuddering along like a zombie despite repeated visits to the dealer.

Your Aunt Millie left you money in her will, but looks like it’ll have to go through probate before you see any of it.

Who you gonna call? If you’re a UT student who chose the option available during registration, you can tap into the expanded legal services available through Student Legal Services.

“We want students to be aware of the scope of services they can use for a very modest fee,” said Charlon Dewberry, one of the licensed attorneys who provide professional legal advice and representation to enrolled UT students who choose the services option when they register for classes.

For just $10 a semester, or $20 to cover spring and summer, students can receive assistance in the following:

• Consumer issues, including debt collection, contracts, credit, the Ohio lemon law, warranties and defective-item repairs;

• Landlord and tenant issues;

• Misdemeanor criminal and traffic matters;

• Probate matters such as wills, name changes and step-parent adoptions;

• Expungements or petitions to seal records;

• Employment and unemployment matters;

• Uncontested divorces and dissolutions; and

• Accident cases, including property damage and/or minor personal injury claims.

Opportunities to receive services are being expanded for the 2014-15 academic year, allowing students who are not enrolled for summer 2015 to retain access to staff attorneys. The $10 legal fee for fall semester is billed when students register unless they opt out of the program by checking the appropriate box.

Thus, when spring 2015 registration begins in October, students have several options: They can opt out; choose to have legal coverage only for spring semester for $10; or for $20, they can be covered during the entire 2015 summer term as well, even if they don’t enroll for any of the summer semesters.

“Summer can be full of reasons a student needs legal counsel,” Dewberry noted. “They might need it for apartment leases, traffic accidents or new-job issues, just as a few examples.

“When you consider that hiring a private attorney costs upward of $150 an hour, we want students to consider what an amazing bargain Student Legal Services represents.”

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