Student Legal Services is a free service offered to Ball State Students with services ranging from criminal to civil law, according to the Ball State website. It can provide students with documents such as roommate agreements and housing inspection forms.
The most requested service fluctuates year-to-year, season-to-season, attorney at law John Connor said. “At one point in time, criminal issues were most frequent,” Connor said. However, more recently, Connor found his most requested service comes from student organizations.
Often, student organizations need releases and waivers for events they host. This practice helps follow risk management requirements. Despite marketing its services at orientation and at resource fairs, Connor said students often only find him after creating a problem. When he interacts with parents at said fairs, they all say, “My son/daughter won’t/better not need you.
”However, SLS isn’t just a resource to dig students out of trouble. The office offers preventative resources that help students avoid making mistakes, he said. Connor encouraged students to “think proactively rather than waiting for a problem.”Among preventative education resources, students can find a legal guide and pamphlets on domestic violence, debt management, off-campus housing rights, identity theft, financial responsibility, power of attorney and even Indiana’s comparative fault/negligence statute.
Connor encouraged students to come in and talk before sending out any personal identification, signing a lease or studying abroad. Sitting down can help solve any hypothetical problems while abroad and can help prevent both identity theft and overpaying. In order to seek counsel from legal services, students generally must schedule an appointment in person, but Connor said the department will be experimenting with different scheduling methods this year in order to encourage social distancing.