Students' Legal Assistance Program

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[The following was approved on October 15, 1980, with amendments on October 10, 1997, and May 17, 2000, in accordance with provisions set forth in SIU Board of Trustees 3Policies D.]

  1. Status

    1. The legal staff member must recognize that the performance of his/her duties as an attorney means participating in an attorney-client relationship with the eligible student and not with the university.
    2. The opinions and views of the legal staff member with respect to an individual student client's problems, are his/her own, and do not necessarily represent those of the university.
  2. Functions of the Students' Legal Assistance Program

    1. The legal staff will assist only eligible students seeking aid and advice in connection with personal legal problems. In this capacity as counsel, he/she will serve primarily as a legal advisor and consultant. The legal staff may also act as legal advisor and consultant to student organizations to the extent his/her workload permits under policies and procedures approved by the board of directors.
    2. The legal staff may act as counsel of record in a court proceeding or administrative hearing to the extent his/her workload permits under guidelines approved by the board of directors. In acting as counsel of record in a court proceeding or administrative hearing, the legal staff shall give preference to those applicants who are unable to retain private counsel by reason of indigence or otherwise.
    3. The legal staff shall not accept any remuneration of any kind other than his/her salary for legal services rendered as described in this program.
  3. Limitations (On Attorney-Client Relationship) 

    Notwithstanding the above, the legal staff is precluded and restricted from acting as an agent or attorney for individual students in the following matters:

    1. Actions or Claims Against the University, the Board of Trustees, or the State of Illinois: 
      The legal staff is precluded and restricted from acting as an agent or an attorney in the prosecution or defense of any action or claim against the Board of Trustees of Southern Illinois University or its agents and employees acting in their official capacity, or the State of Illinois or its agencies, and otherwise aiding or assisting in the prosecution or support of any such action or claim. The legal staff shall not assist or otherwise participate in the presentation or other processing of any claim involving the Board of Trustees of Southern Illinois University or its agents and employees acting in their official capacity, or the State of Illinois or its agencies.
    2. Drafting Instruments and Searching Titles: 
      The legal staff shall not draft deeds of trust, real estate mortgages or deeds, leases (except for the student's own local residence), partnership agreements, articles of incorporation (including not-for-profit corporations), inter vivos trusts, wills or similar documents; nor shall he/she examine abstracts of title to real estate, or other similar documents for the purpose of rendering an opinion on the legal sufficiency of such title. He/she shall not draft instruments for use in connection with the probate of estates nor prepare individual, partnership or corporation, federal, state or municipal tax returns.
    3. Appearance in Court or Before Administrative Agencies: 
      The legal staff shall not appear in person or by pleadings or brief before an administrative agency or civil or criminal courts in relation to matters coming within the scope of this program except as provided in Sections B and C hereof.
    4. Communication: 
      The legal staff may communicate on behalf of his/her clients with persons, businesses, organizations, or public agencies for the purpose of obtaining information or explaining a factual situation or legal concept, but no communication shall purport to represent the position of Southern Illinois University, its Board of Trustees, or the State of Illinois, or implicitly or explicitly threaten legal action on behalf of or against the Board of Trustees of Southern Illinois University or its agents and employees acting in their official capacity, or the State of Illinois or its agencies. All written correspondence from the legal staff shall appear on letterhead stationery which clearly indicates that the Students' Attorney does not represent Southern Illinois University, its Board of Trustees, or the State of Illinois, and all verbal communications by the Students' Attorney shall include statements to the same effect where appropriate.
    5. Domestic Relations: 
      The legal staff shall restrict his/her advice to the legal aspects of the problems involving domestic relations presented to him/her. To the end that other counseling may be required, the legal staff shall establish and maintain a working relationship with appropriate counseling services. The legal staff may represent one student against another in an uncontested dissolution of marriage. Students involved in any contested domestic matters shall be referred to private counsel.
    6. Clients' Income-Producing Activities: 
      The legal staff shall not provide legal assistance in any matter arising from, or connected with, the business activities or income-producing activities of an eligible student.
    7. Contingent Fee Matters: 
      The legal staff shall not give any advice, representation or counsel in any situation which, by local bar custom and practice, is recognized as a contingent fee matter unless specific information is shown that attempts have been made to retain private counsel.
    8. Criminal Matters: 
      In criminal matters, the legal staff will not handle any case beyond a reasonable period of time required by the eligible student to obtain the services of a private attorney or the public defender.
  4. Conflict of Interest, Referral, and Reports

    1. The legal staff shall not give advice, counsel, or representation to an eligible student in a matter involving another eligible student, but shall advise both students of the conflict and where possible seek assistance of the Jackson County Bar Association in obtaining advice and counsel for both parties (except C. 5).
    2. The legal staff shall refer an eligible student to another attorney in a matter he/she is ineligible to handle through a referral service. The legal staff shall not accept any remuneration of any kind for referral of any matter.
    3. The legal staff shall provide the board of directors of the SIUC Legal Assistance Program, the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) president, and the Graduate and Professional Student Council (GPSC) president a copy of the progress report that shall be submitted to the Dean of Students and Chancellor of SIUC or his/her designee, summarizing the activities of the office (without a breach of his/her attorney-client relationship). Such report shall include the number and nature of problems considered, referrals, and court appearances.
  5. Preventive Law Activities

    Participation by the legal staff is intended primarily to furnish individuals with legal information concerning management of their legal affairs. The design of his/her assistance is to enable individuals to avoid legal difficulties. To this end, he/she may also provide legal information, through appropriate mass communication media, in order to educate students as to their rights and responsibilities.

  6. Liaison with Local Bar Association 

    The legal staff will establish and maintain liaison with the local bar association in order to secure local support of the program, and to facilitate effective and prompt handling of referrals.

  7. Board of Directors of the SIUC Students' Legal Assistance Program

    The board of directors shall oversee the policies and operation of the SIUC Students' Legal Assistance Program.

    1. Membership and Procedures 
      The board of directors shall consist of 8 members, 3 appointed by the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) president, with the advice and consent of the Student Senate; 1 appointed by the Graduate and Professional Student Council (GPSC) president, with the advice and consent of the Graduate and Professional Student Council; and 4 appointed by the Chancellor of SIUC, one of whom shall be a member of the Jackson County Bar Association. The attorneys of Students' Legal Assistance shall be ex officio, non-voting members of the board of directors.

      The board of directors shall meet at least once during the fall and once during the spring semesters.

      At the beginning of each academic year, the board of directors shall elect a chair from among the 8 appointed members. The chair shall convene the meetings of the board of directors and shall notify the presidents of the USG and GPSC, the Dean of Students and the Chancellor of SIUC when vacancies on the board occur.

      Those matters presented by the board of directors to the Chancellor of SIUC for action may be referred back to the board of directors for further consideration if the Chancellor of SIUC deems that the proposed action may not be in the best interest of the university. 

    2. Responsibilities 
      During its meetings, the board of directors shall discuss the operation of the SIUC Students' Legal Assistance Program; recommend policy changes; make recommendations in an attempt to settle disputes which may arise; review and analyze the program's annual report; recommend alterations to update the provisions of the program; review the results of a five year program review conducted by the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs; advise and aid in the preparation of the budget; and fulfill its other various duties as herein described. 
      In addition,
      1. The board of directors shall take care that the program and its operation is in accordance with all Board of Trustees and university policies, rules and regulations.
      2. The board of directors shall take care that the SIUC Students' Legal Assistance Program is in compliance with the Illinois State Statutes, the guidelines of the Illinois State Bar Association and the code of ethics to which that body subscribes.
      3. The board of directors shall take care that the funding base of the program is sufficient to meet the needs of the program and the demands made upon it.
      4. The board of directors shall take care that the duties of the Students' Legal Assistance are met and fulfilled within the limits of this program.
      5. Nothing contained herein shall be construed to infringe upon the Students Attorney's professional independence as is required by the code of ethics.
    3. Program Review and Attorney Selection 
      Upon request, the board of directors shall report the status of the SIUC Students' Legal Assistance Program to the Chancellor of SIUC or his/her designee.

      The Dean of Students shall administer the process for the selection of a staff attorney. The board of directors, when available, will serve as the screening committee for selection of a student attorney. The board will make it's recommendations to the Dean of Students concerning the appointment of a student attorney. Selection of the student attorney will be made by the Dean of Students with the approval of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, the Chancellor of SIUC, and the Board of Trustees of Southern Illinois University.