Everything you need to know about Student Legal Services

Grise Hall is home to the Gordon Ford Business College at Western Kentucky University and holds the office of Julie Shadoan, program coordinator of paralegal studies. Shadoan and a committee of 30 people examined the information presented by Gray Associates.

Leo Bertucci

If WKU students need legal assistance, they may not need to look beyond campus.

WKU Student Legal Services, which is located in Grise Hall, has been providing legal services to students at little or no cost since 2015, according to Clinic Director Julie Shadoan.

Student Legal Services can assist students with legal issues that relate to housing disputes, family matters and estate planning, but there are some services that can not be handled on campus.

“Obviously, any litigation that would involve the university or an employee or another student, we can not get involved in unless the other (side) agrees,” Shadoan said.

In order to receive a consultation, students must pay a one-time administrative fee. Subsequent fees for legal services would likely be lower compared to what a student might have to pay if they hired a private attorney.

If Student Legal Services can not assist a student with their legal issue, they can refer them to one of their six community partners who can provide legal services pro bono or at a low cost, Shadoan said.

Providing legal assistance to WKU students at little or no cost is not the only goal for Student Legal Services.

“We do a lot of educational programming,” Shadoan said. “We have traditionally gone out into the University Experience courses and given about a 10 to 15 minute presentation to (freshman students) who might not know about legal services.”

Shadoan said that educational programming is very important to Student Legal Services because it wants students to understand what certain legal processes might entail. They want to ensure that the legal process for students is a learning experience as much as it is a “get me out of trouble” situation.

“We are just trying to minimize the distractions from their academic pursuits on campus,” Shadoan said.

Instead of being pressured by their credit card debt or apartment situation, students should be able to pay more attention to their coursework, Shadoan said.

Because Student Legal Services can not currently accept walk-ins due to WKU’s COVID-19 restrictions, Shadoan said that the appointment process has become much more formalized and therefore the clinic is currently seeing less clients than they usually would.

“I wouldn’t say that it’s a blessing, but it has certainly provided us with some opportunities to do some things that we might have not been otherwise able to do because we’re busy representing clients,” Shadoan said.

Student Legal Services currently operates on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information on Student Legal Services and the services that the clinic can provide, visit their website.

Leo Bertucci can be reached at [email protected]  Follow him on Twitter @leober2chee.