The Student Government Association (SGA) conducted their first reading of the Legal Service for Students resolution at the end of March.
The resolution asks for a clinic to provide legal services to UMKC students for issues such as misdemeanors, taxes and immigration, as well as preventing and resolving other problems students encounter.
Other services could include representation in landlord/tenant and consumer cases within Jackson County, notary services, family legal advice, and educational workshops regarding students’ legal rights and responsibilities.
“Students do often run into situations where they maybe had troubles with landlords that could be solved much easier than they expect,” said SGA senator Ryan Head, co-author of the resolution. “It would be nice if they knew they could go somewhere on campus and talk to someone who could help them out.”
Legal services would be provided by attorneys, aid from other clinics, advisory boards or Rule (13) students, law students who’ve acquired enough credit hours to legally represent someone in court under the guidance of a licensed attorney.
Though the SGA cannot control financial fees, the resolution estimates the rate of the clinic’s budget to be around $10 per student, a fee which would come from their tuition. Currently enrolled students who have paid tuition and campus fees would meet the requirements to receive the clinic’s assistance at no additional cost.
Though UMKC’s School of Law already has a self-help clinic that provides legal information and advice, it only allows for a limited range of legal representation and referral for certain civil matters.
“[The resolution] is pretty aspirational,” Head said. “What we would really like to do is start a conversation and ultimately aim to narrow this down to a handful of legal services.”
Still a work in progress, the proposal will be brought back before the senate later this month.