April 27, 2004

'People's Law School' set for Saturday, May 1

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Area residents who have general legal questions may find answers during a forum sponsored in part by Southern Illinois University Carbondale's law school.

The "People's Law School" will cover such topics as bankruptcy, domestic violence, family law, disability law, and traffic and DUI laws in half-hour sessions. The event is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, May 1, at University Mall in Carbondale. The sessions are in a store across from Gloria Jeans.


Media Advisory

Reporters and photographers are welcome to cover the People's Law School. For more information, contact Amy Rose at the SIUC law school at 618/453-8768.

The event, part of Law Day celebrations, is a joint project with "Equal Justice Works," a student organization at the law school, and the Jackson County Bar Association. Attorneys will be able to answer general questions about specific topics, said Michael P. Ruiz, law school director of admissions, media and community affairs.

The day also includes an exhibit opening at the African American Museum of Southern Illinois, which is next to the Science Center in the mall's Southern Illinois Healthcare wing. There will be discussion and commemoration of this year's 50th anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Brown vs. Board of Education.

In addition to answering general legal questions, brochures on several topics also will be available. Law school students will help facilitate the forums, making this a valuable out-of-classroom experience, said law school field representative Amy Rose.

"They are going to view attorneys in action being contributing members of the community," said Rose. "These attorneys have volunteered their weekend to do community service and that is very important for them to see. They will see people with real-life legal questions."

Students have been in charge of scheduling the attorneys and setting up displays. When mixed with upcoming finals, the students have "really taken on the initiative," said Rose.

"For those of us in Equal Justice Works, and for a lot of us at the law school, this is something we really believe in -- bringing free legal information to people who maybe cannot afford to go to an attorney or find out what their legal rights are," said Davina Smith, a second-year law student and president of the student organization.

It is also helpful for people to see that attorneys are not "scary people," she said.

The forums provide a chance for "demystifying the law," said Sandra Fogel, a Carbondale attorney with Culley and Wissore and chair of the Jackson County Bar Association's Law Day Committee.

"The forum is in a non-intimidating atmosphere and a way for people to ask general questions, and help them understand issues a little better," she said.

Expanding community outreach is among the goals of Southern@150, blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.

Here is the schedule of events, the topic and the name of the volunteer attorney for Law Day 2004.

  • Law Day 2004
    University Mall, Carbondale

  • 9-9:30 a.m. -- Bankruptcy, Eugenia Hunter.
  • 9:30-10 a.m. -- Insurance/Workman's Compensation, Gene Turk.
  • 10-10:30 a.m. -- Domestic Violence, Sheila Simon.
  • 10:30-11 a.m. -- Elder Law, Richard Habiger
  • 11-11:30 a.m. -- Personal Injury, Ryan Rice.
  • 11:30 a.m.-Noon -- Family Law, Mike Fiello.
  • Noon-12:30 p.m. -- Disability Law, Jeff Plesko.
  • 12:30-1 p.m. -- Trusts and Estates, TBA*
  • 1-1:30 p.m. -- Social Security/SSI, Joni Beth Taylor
  • 1:30-2 p.m. -- Exhibit opening at the African American Museum of Southern Illinois (next to the Science Center in the Southern Illinois Healthcare wing). There will be discussion and commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education.
  • 2-2:30 p.m. -- Traffic/DUI, Jason Vincent.
  • 2:30-3 p.m. -- Copyright Law, Sue Liemer
  • * An attorney from Barrett, Twomey, Broom, Hughes and Wesley will be presenting on this topic.