WSC to welcome lawyer for students

Derek Pufahl, Staff Writer

Criminal offences such as MIP’s, DUI’s, noise citations or possession of marijuana are fairly common problems for the “shenanigan loving” college student.

These legal issues often leave students feeling worried, vulnerable and scared for their future. The members of the Political Science Union want to help their peers who may have found themselves backed into a corner. That’s why Student Legal Defense Service was created.

The SLDS should be up and running by the end of February according to Mark Leeper, professor of political science, who pushed for the birth of SLDS.

“There are so few available attorneys in the area to help students,” he said. “I kind of just wanted to see what the response would be if we had one on campus.”

Melissa Schrant is an attorney from Norfolk who is going to be visiting campus in the last week of February. The date isn’t set yet, but flyers will be put up soon giving more details. Schrant will be here to talk to student about their rights, particularly in regards to any legal problems.

Usual rates for a lawyer can be $100 to $150 an hour, which adds up fast, especially for college students. But with Schrant the hourly rate will be reduced. There will be no smalltime billing, no retainer fees and no billing for initial talks or arbitrary things like e-mails and phone calls.

“It will be useful,” Luke Sutton, Political Science Union treasurer, said. “It will give students a chance to sit down and have a legal professional give them advice.”

SLDS plans to have an attorney on campus once a month to help students. Leeper is looking at other law firms that might be able to help offer services.

“I don’t know if it will work or not,” he said. “But we need someone here to help in defending these students without bias.”

Sutton thinks it will also help law students who have questions and want to get a better idea of what to expect in the law field.

“Students have more legal questions and problems than people might think,” Sutton said