Overview of Services
The Center for Student Legal Services provides the students of Ohio University with advice and representation for legal issues that occur in Athens County and that are tried in Athens County courts. We are staffed by two full-time attorneys who have nearly 50 years of combined experience in civil and criminal law. Our criminal defense attorney, Patrick McGee, advises and represents students for misdemeanors, including underage possession and/or consumption of alcohol, possession of marijuana and/or paraphernalia, operating a vehicle under the influence, disorderly conduct, and trespassing. Our civil litigation attorney, Kimberlee Francis, represents students in tenant-landlord disputes and other small claims cases and also offers advice and assistance in many other areas of student concern including, but not limited to, contract reviews, consumer complaints, credit reports and concerns, auto purchasing regulations, insurance billing and claims, family law matters, what to look for when seeking off-campus housing, tenant/landlord rights and responsibilities, and co-tenant or sub-lease agreements. Our attorneys also offer advice and assistance filing petitions to seal criminal records (expungements). Additionally, we offer notary services.
Limitations of Services
There are some areas of law and some situations where the Center for Student Legal Services cannot advise or represent students. CSLS may not represent a student in "an action against a state officer or agency arising out of the performance of the duties of the officer or agency, against a law enforcement officer arising out of the performance of the duties of the officer, against a college or university participating in the plan, against a student of such a college or university, or against a member of the board of regents or the board of trustees, faculty, or staff of such a college or university if the cause of action arises out of the performance of the duties of the member or in the course of the members employment by the college or university" (Ohio Revised Code 3345.022).
The Center for Student Legal Services cannot represent a student in Ohio University Community Standards hearings or in lawsuits against Ohio University or its employees. Please contact Students Defending Students for assistance with OU Community Standards. Please contact the Ombudsperson for assistance with complaints against OU faculty and staff.
The Center for Student Legal Services cannot represent one student against another in a civil or criminal matter. Contact the Dean of Students for assistance with student vs. student conflicts.
Furthermore, we may provide only limited advice in certain areas of the law. These areas include, but are not limited to: felonies, immigration, property damage, personal injury, or malpractice claims, estate and probate matters/complex wills and trusts, taxes, bankruptcies, establishing copyrights and patents, divorce or child custody or support hearings, or other matters which may unduly monopolize program resources to the disadvantage of other students. If we are unable to provide assistance with these issues, we will do our best to refer you to someone who can assist you.
Our Philosophy and Mission
The Center for Student Legal Services does not condone or encourage violations of the law. Our philosophy is that students are adults who are capable of making their own decisions and that they should be informed of their legal rights and the ramifications of their actions before making choices that may be against the law. We cannot prevent students from violating the law, but we realize that everyone makes mistakes and might need legal help in order to prevent one bad decision from jeopardizing their entire future. We also believe that students should be treated fairly in the legal system and should be free from undue harassment. Our mission is to provide the students of Ohio University with quality, affordable legal services. We strive to educate students on their legal rights and responsibilities as citizens of their city, state, and country. We want every student to be aware of their legal rights and responsibilities in order to lessen the chances of needing an attorney. We also work to help students reach satisfactory resolutions to their issues so that they can concentrate on their education.