CMU Pro Brono Legal Clinic to return in fall

The Central Michigan University Pro Bono Legal Clinic will reopen this fall.

Beginning next semester, the clinic will be housed in the Student Organization Center Conference Room in Bovee University Center for four hours, two days a week.

Student Government Association President Justin Gawronski said the specific times for the clinic would be finalized soon.

A miscommunication between the SGA and former legal clinic director Christopher Armelagos led some to believe the clinic would be closed for the 2012-2013 academic year. On the clinic’s website, a message would appear saying the clinic was no longer in operation.

“I think there was just some miscommunication, because we’ve been waiting to have our big media push until the year starts and students are around to use it,” Gawronski said.

Last year, students would meet with lawyers in the Center for Profession and Personal Ethics. The clinic, formed by past SGA president Brittany Mouzourakis in 2011, allows students to receive free legal advice from licensed attorneys.

Mouzourakis modeled the legal clinic off of Eastern Michigan University’s clinic, which has been in operation for more than six years.

“There is no reason why the clinic should ever close as other universities of comparable size have been able to effectively run their clinics for years,” Mouzourakis said. “The drive to provide vital legal services to students who are in need of help should serve as the driving forces for any administration to fight, tooth and nail, to keep it in existence.”

Armelagos said moving the clinic was not a good choice.

“The action of removing the clinic from the ethics center is breath-taking,” he said. “The new SGA administration has destroyed the legal relationships developed over the past two years. The future success of the clinic has been greatly jeopardized.”

The attorneys for this year will be CMU faculty members Todd Levitt, William Shirley and Matthew Coffey and Mount Pleasant attorney Lesley Hoenig.

Students may contact sophomore Brittany Wilson, legal clinic director, to make an appointment, or they can walk into the SGA office in the lower level of the UC.

“I think it is great that we have free legal counseling available,” Gawronski said. “When students have issues such as with their lease, the legal clinic can outline their options and prevent them from being bullied.”


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