We offer services
- To any student currently enrolled at the Twin Cities Campus paying the Student Services Fee.
- During the school year (see exceptions).
All students are guaranteed confidentiality. Plain and simple, confidentiality is of the utmost importance.
If USLS does not have the resources or expertise to help, we maintain a list of other agencies and services in the Twin Cities area and will make referrals accordingly. If a student is eligible but USLS does not handle an area of the law the student needs help with, the student may still make an appointment to discuss his or her options.
Representation During Breaks or Between Terms
Students are generally not eligible for service between terms. However, if a student has an emergency, USLS may see the student (provided that the student paid the student services fee during the most recent term and intends to be a full-time student in the next term). A copay of $25.00 may be charged to eligible students when they are between semesters (i.e. summer). Emergency situations include, but are not limited to, those in which an eligible student:
- Has a mandatory court appearance
- Must respond to legal papers within a deadline before resumption of student status, or
- Is being evicted
- Is being deported
Termination of Representation
Clients have the right to terminate their relationship with USLS at any time. USLS has the right to terminate its representation in the following situations:
- At the conclusion of the legal matter
- A judgment is obtained
- The client fails to fulfill his or her obligations as a client
- A client is no longer eligible.
When a client is no longer eligible for USLS services, USLS will terminate representation. Under very limited circumstances USLS may agree to continue representation after a client is no longer a fee-paying student solely for the purpose of completing minor tasks necessary for completion of a case. Examples of such minor tasks would include serving and filing a final court order, ordering certified copies of a court document, or writing a letter summarizing an agreement. The decision to continue representation for such minor tasks is solely at the discretion of USLS staff. Clients may be assessed a fee for continued representation.
Services to students who will be graduating or will soon lose eligibility for USLS services are limited to advice only. USLS will not commence representation in a lawsuit or other legal matter that will require legal services after a student is no longer eligible.
Students who have complaints about their relationship with USLS should:
- First, discuss the problem with their attorney or legal assistant.
- If the problem persists, contact the USLS Director by telephone, email, or in writing.
- If not satisfied, contact the USLS Board of Directors by writing to them in care of the USLS office.
Complaints will be reviewed by a special committee appointed by the USLS Board Chairperson (a student) and the aggrieved student has the option of making an oral presentation to the committee.
Students who would prefer to be represented by an advocate in connection with a complaint should contact the Student Conflict Resolution Center
at the University of Minnesota for assistance.
Limitations and Exclusions of Service
Those matters not listed under “what we do” are excluded (link). In addition, USLS cannot provide service in the following situations due to conflict of interest or other standards:
- Actions against the University of Minnesota, its Regents, employees, or agents, if the claim arises out of the performance of duties of office or employment at the University of Minnesota;
- Matters involving policies of the University of Minnesota;
- Student v. student matters:
- If the adverse party was eligible at the time the legal matter arose but is no longer eligible, USLS may represent the client, subject to Director discretion;
- If the adverse party was not eligible at the time the legal matter arose but is now eligible, USLS may not represent the client, subject to Director discretion;
- If the adverse party was eligible at the time the legal matter arose and is still eligible, USLS will not represent the client unless the adverse party waives his or her right to USLS services in writing;
- For matters where the timing of the legal matter is difficult to determine, the case is subject to Director discretion.
- Matters that are prohibited by the ethical standards and codes governing attorneys;
- Matters customarily handled as contingent fee cases (e.g., personal injury, etc.). USLS will refer;
- Matters where insurers are contractually obligated to provide legal representation. USLS will refer;
- Matters in which another attorney has begun representation;
- Pre-existing legal matters:
- Plaintiff: If the legal matter arose prior to eligibility, the matter is excluded;
- Defendant: In a civil case, if the time to answer has run prior to eligibility, the matter is excluded. In a criminal case, if the student contacts USLS too late for provision of effective representation, the matter is excluded.
- Business, commercial, copyright, or income-generating matters;
- Public assistance/benefits. USLS will refer;
- Matters challenging the quality or value of another's attorney's services.
When USLS May Decline Service:
- Cases arising outside of the 7-county metropolitan area (Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington counties);
- Courtroom representation in Conciliation Court matters;
- Petty misdemeanors;
- Employment grievances;
- Assistance to student organizations;
- Representation of a co-plaintiff or co-defendant who is not otherwise eligible, unless the Director deems representation necessary to protect the rights of an eligible client;
- Claims for nominal monetary value;
- Legal matters over which Minnesota courts do not or would not have jurisdiction;
- Appeals from Conciliation Court to District Court; Appeals to the Minnesota Court of Appeals or Minnesota Supreme Court;
- Matters which may unduly burden program resources to the disadvantage of other eligible students;
- Initiation of complex litigation or ongoing legal matters immediately prior to termination of eligibility.