SGA Legal Clinic partners with local attorneys for free student use
Students in need of legal consultation won’t need to look any further than the basement of the Bovee University Center.
The Student Government Association Legal Clinic has open for the semester by appointment in the Student Activity and Involvement Center.
The group specializes in helping with tenant-landlord issues, nuisance party tickets or issues in small claims court. If students want legal advice, they can meet with a member of the Legal Clinic and get referred to one of two local law firms for free a 30-minute consultation.
The list of legal trouble students can get into is not testament to their bad character, but “to their humanity,” said Damian Fisher, Mount Pleasant-based attorney. Fisher helps the clinic get in contact with other local firms.
“When (students) make a mistake, we need to be on their side supporting them,” Fisher said. “The attorney gets a referral and potential client. What the student gets is a free consultation and legal advice.”
Co-directors Macey Miller, a senior from Midland, and Freeland junior Stephen Dunn provide helpful resources on law-related matters to each client’s situation, but they stop short of giving legal advice.
Instead, advice-seeking clients are passed off to a practicing attorney in partnership with the legal clinic: either from Barberi Law or Spencer and Hausmann.
The partnerships are new this year. Before, students were referred to professors with their General Education Developments.
“(Professors) wouldn’t know what to do with them,” Miller said. “They couldn’t represent them and didn’t know who to send them to.”
While professional expertise is valuable , Miller said it is possible to be satisfied with the advice that comes with a free, thirty-minute consultation.
“It’s not every day you run into legal trouble,” he said. “It’s nice to get legal advice in a cost-effective way rather than pay and not be able to use that firm.”
Her co-director, Dunn, said the clinic has already had traction this year compared to last.
“Looking at our numbers from last year, about 15 students utilized the clinic,” Dunn said. “This year we have had around six and only been open for a week.”
Email to make an appointment at SGALegalClinic@gmail.com.