When David Fetter’s former roommate did not understand why his
apartment complex refused to return his security deposit, he sought
After an attorney evaluated the lease documentation and
explained why the deposit was not refunded, Fetter’s roommate
decided not to pursue the issue.
While he did not receive any money back from his deposit, he did
save money on legal fees by using Student Legal Services, a free
university legal service for full-time students.
“They talked to my roommate and he figured out he didn’t have
anything to go on,” said Fetter, a senior watershed science major.
“Even though I’ve never used the service, I definitely think that
it is important as an insurance sort of thing.”
Students primarily seek the university legal office for help
with housing leases, but the office assists students with concerns
ranging from consumer issues to divorces.
Crystal Foos, a junior mathematics major, said almost every
student can benefit from legal aid with their lease.
“I think the lease would be the most helpful service for
students because it is something we all go through and most of us
are pretty new at doing leases,” Foos said.
Student Legal Services offers legal aid and advice free of
charge, aside from student fees, excluding a typing fee of $50 for
uncontested divorces and a fee of $30 that pertains to individual
wills and to adoptions.
The only restrictions to the university legal service are
immigration law, tax matters, business law and corporate
partnership, due to incompatibility between the possible longevity
of those services and the period of time students remain at
Attorney Kevin Daley, the director of Student Legal Services,
said the program resembles a general law office in the services it
provides, but is also focused on helping students understand the
“It is extremely important for students to learn legal rights
and responsibilities,” Daley said. “Students wouldn’t normally have
access to legal services that would help them negotiate the legal
This legal access would not normally be available to students,
especially at the price of $3.87 per semester for full-time
students, said Noah Friesen, a senior civil engineering major.
“It would be a lot more expensive to go to an outside lawyer to
get advice,” Friesen said.
Kimi Jackson, the second attorney at Student Legal Services,
“I enjoy working for an office where we provide services to
everyone, whether they can afford it or not,” Jackson said.
She also said that unlike general law offices, the university’s
public interest legal office focuses on helping students remain in
school throughout their legal battles.
“Legal problems can cause students to have difficulty and to
lose money that they would put toward school,” Jackson said. “We
help students avoid problems; it’s called preventative law. It is
always better to avoid problems than to solve them.”
Students who do not feel comfortable visiting the office,
located in the hallway north of the University Bookstore at 182
Lory Student Center, have the option of accessing information
through the program’s new Web site at www.sls.colostate.edu, Daley
The Web site’s links contain descriptions of the office’s
services and on-file legal documents, including checklists and
pre-reviewed leases that students can access.
Regardless of whether students have used the service in the
past, Daley said it is important to have legal assistance on campus
because legal problems can become a part of anyone’s situation.
“It’s more like an insurance plan,” Daley said. “If you need to
use the service you’re getting a great deal and if you don’t, it’s
good to have just in case you need assistance.”