Executives weigh free legal service plan

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By Adam Eisner

Students may be able to get free legal advice on campus this fall, says RyeSAC’s executive assistant.

Dennis Loney said the plan, which is being reviewed by the council’s president and vice-presidents, could be approved by May or June.

“It’s not cheap. It’s expensive to have a lawyer come in,” Loney said.

If approved by the executives and RyeSAC’s board of directors, the pilot project would provide students with legal advice on anything from criminal charges to OSAP.

While the executives are considering the plan, Loney was also told to “investigate other avenues,” such as referrals. RyeSAC currently refers students to Downtown Legal Services, at 44 George St.

However, Loney said students have encountered problems with busy phone lines, forcing them to trek down to the office. He is worried this may discourage students from seeking legal advice, and he would like to see a lawyer be made available to students on campus.

Loney said a lawyer who works for George Brown College and Mohawk College has been recommended to the executives. He said he has heard nothing but rave reviews about the lawyer’s service. “He has a real understanding of what students are going to ask,” said Loney. “He has a lot of experience.”

While the lawyer would provide legal advice and write letters for students, Loney said he would not go to court with them.

If the plan is approved, it would be given a one-semester trial run. Because this service hasn’t been offered to students in the past, Loney said it’s difficult to gauge whether students would take advantage of it.

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