College of Western Idaho (CWI) is celebrating the success of its first semester offering free legal clinics for students. As part of the service local attorneys volunteered their time providing advising consultation to students.
“Our program is modeled from other colleges,” says CWI Board of Trustees Vice Chairperson, Guy Hurlbutt. “The institutions that had done this type of program indicated they are glad they did. It is providing a great service, so we feel it gave us good reason to try it.”
Since introducing the program in December 2014, five clinics have been hosted with 41 students taking advantage of the free legal advising. The clinics are currently offered once a month for three hours at CWI’s Nampa Campus. Students can schedule an appointment or walk-in to speak with a volunteer attorney.
“We have helped students with a variety of issues,” says Jeff Neumeyer, one of the program’s volunteer attorneys. “They often don’t have issues that you would go out and spend money on a lawyer, so we feel good about being able to help them. These are students with real legal issues and we are able to give them some guidance, which they otherwise often times would not be able to get.”
Willingness of volunteers like Neumeyer was a driving force behind establishing the clinics. Their professional experience is vital in building a program that is beneficial to students. Neumeyer is currently Vice President and Associate General Counsel for Office Depot Inc. He has been with the corporation, including previously as Boise Cascade and OfficeMax, for 25 years. He says despite the high demands of his job, the opportunity to support CWI’s new program was exciting.
To date, 24 community members have joined Neumeyer to help facilitate the free service. In addition to attorneys, volunteers also include students from the Concordia University School of Law in Boise.
“The Concordia students have been a tremendous resource,” says Neumeyer. “They have been able to conduct some of the initial conversations with students to help connect them with the appropriate lawyer. Occasionally they also sit in on advising sessions, both for learning experience and to provide input. It is great for them to see how we are providing both practical and legal solutions.”
Neumeyer says the team of volunteers has seen a wide variety of legal issues, from neighbor disputes to landlord/tenant complaints, consumer issues, contract disputes, copyright questions, criminal law, family law, child support, and custody issues.
CWI’s next student legal clinic is scheduled for June 11 from 4-7 p.m. For more information on the legal clinics, including how to schedule an appointment, contact Donna Robinson at [email protected].