Choosing The Perfect Counsel

Legally Broke: How To Find Legal Assistance If You Are A Poor College Student

College is an interesting time. Tuition rates are consistently rising, and even if you work while you go to school, you probably do not have enough money to hire a lawyer if the need arises. When the unexpected happens--an apartment dispute, a public intoxication charge, even a busted party--you are better off seeking representation or even just advice from a lawyer than going at it alone. Here are three resources you can turn to if you need legal advice, but cannot afford the services of a law firm.

Your University

When you receive your tuition bill, your university probably gives you a breakdown of what your money pays for. Most colleges offer "student service fees" that extend well beyond the simple cost of attending class. Examples of these fees include recreational center membership, low-cost medical care at the university medical center, library fees, and others.

Look at your tuition bill and see if your college offers you a "legal services fee." Many universities hire a small group of in-house lawyers to help students with basic legal needs, usually at no cost. These lawyers will not likely assist you with monumental criminal matters, like murder, but usually offer legal assistance for issues relevant to many college students.

Examples of legal issues that many student legal services provide include:

  • Housing and tenancy issues involving your landlord or roommates;
  • Traffic tickets;
  • Criminal charges involving drugs and alcohol;
  • Credit disputes;
  • Family law issues, like divorce and child custody proceedings; and
  • Contracts for property purchase.

The services offered will differ from school to school, but even if your university's student legal services team cannot assist you, they can probably point you in the right direction so that you get the help or advice that you need.

Your University's Law School

If your university also has a school of law, you might be able to find legal assistance in that college. Many law schools offer clinical programs for students who are about to graduate. A professor oversees and guides these students, and the students get an opportunity to learn the ropes in a real-world setting. The lawyers and students in the program usually accept, pro bono, clients who cannot otherwise afford legal services. You can receive high-quality legal advice and representation from people who are on the cutting edge of the law, but without the expensive price tag.

There are hundreds of law school clinics throughout the United States. These clinics range from common legal issues, like family law or tax law, to obscure and very specialized areas of law, like sports law or animal law. If your university has a law school affiliated, find out whether it has a clinic that offers services relevant to your needs.

Legal Aid Societies

Most states have government-funded or non-profit legal aid societies that reach out to the community with free legal advice and representation. You can apply for representation or appear at the group's intake hours, which are usually held once or twice a month. The legal team will assess your case and determine if the group can represent your needs and if you financially qualify.

These groups often carry heavy case loads, so your local legal aid society may not accept your case, even if you qualify. The legal team can recommend lawyers, like Attorney Steven N. Long, P.C., in the area who can better assist your needs if they are unable to do so.

About Me

Choosing The Perfect Counsel

If you have ever been accused of a crime, then you know the absolute sinking feeling in your gut. It can be incredibly devastating to cope with the thought of living the rest of your life behind bars, which is why choosing the perfect counsel is crucial. I started thinking about who to work with a few years ago when I was accused of something that I knew I didn't do, and it was scary. However, I knew that by focusing on my innocence and finding the right professional, things would be manageable. Check out this blog for great information on choosing counsel.


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