The Center for Student Legal Services has been serving the students of Ohio University for fifteen years, but there are still many myths, misconceptions and incorrect information circulating about our organization. To help you gain a better understanding of our services, here are the top five misconceptions about The Center for Student Legal Services and the facts to set the record straight.
Misconception #1: The Center for Student Legal Services is staffed by law students, not attorneys.
FACT: The Center for Student Legal Services is staffed by two licensed, experienced attorneys. Your legal issue will always be handled by an attorney, not a student or legal assistant. Our Managing Attorney, Patrick McGee, has over 30 years of experience in law and has served the students of Ohio University for ten years. Melissa Greenlee, our Staff Attorney, has worked at Southeastern Ohio Legal Services, owned a private law practice and has many years experience in housing and civil law. She has been on our staff for almost two years. Read about our attorneys on the “Meet Our Staff” page!
Misconception #2: The Center for Student Legal Services exists to help students who are “in trouble” with the law.
FACT: We provide all OHIO students with legal education, advice and representation. Most students who need us but didn’t pay the fee say they didn’t think they would need it because they don’t get in trouble. You don’t have to be “in trouble” to need us; our services are very valuable to all students! We review off campus housing leases, provide mediation, notary services, contract review and many other services that can be extremely helpful to college students. We even provide assistance for debt collection issues, internet fraud/scams, car repair problems, cell phone contracts and other civil issues that may arise during a student’s college career. Our attorneys provide court representation for misdemeanors and civil law cases in Athens County courts and they also provide valuable information, advice and referrals on most legal matters.
Misconception #3: The Center for Student Legal Services is an Ohio University department and the $12.00 semester fee is a fee charged by the university.
FACT: The Center for Student Legal Services is a non-profit, independent law firm that works solely for the students of Ohio University. We are chartered by the OHIO Trustees and sponsored by Student Senate but we are not a university department. Ohio University works with us by offering the legal service fee on students’ tuition bill and then distributing the funds to our office. The $12.00 semester fee supports our organization entirely. The more students that pay the fee, the better our services can be for the students of Ohio University.
Misconception #4: The $12.00 semester fee does not cover the cost of an attorney.
FACT: The $12.00 semester fee allows access to an attorney as well as all the other services we offer. You do not have to pay anything more to retain one of our attorneys and there is no limit on the number of times you can use our services during the semester. You may have to pay court costs and other court fees if you have a court case but we have no control over those fees.
Misconception #5: If the $12.00 fee is waived, you can no longer receive assistance from us.
FACT: If you waive your fee, you can re-enroll during the first three weeks of classes. See the fee section for details on how to re-enroll. When you re-enroll, the legal service fee will be put back on your tuition bill and you are responsible for paying it. This is intended for students who waived the fee accidentally or changed their mind about being covered by our services. If you are re-enrolling because you have a legal problem, you will also have to pay a $25.00 consultation fee and attorney fees if an attorney has to work on your case. After the three week deadline has passed, students cannot re-enroll for our service but they can see an attorney for a consultation fee of $25.00 and may have to pay attorney fees. See our fee section for details.
We hope this answers some of the questions that students often have about our services. Feel free to contact us if you have other questions or would like to make an appointment.
Heidi Sochia, Program Coordinator