April 21, 2005

Free legal classes among SIUC Law Day activities

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Want to learn more about living wills and power of attorney? How about buying and selling real estate, or your legal rights as a medical patient?

The Southern Illinois University Carbondale law school is opening up its classrooms to give the public the chance to attend free legal classes on these and many other subjects on Saturday, April 30. The event is part of Law Day celebrations throughout the nation. The law school has historically participated in a variety of outreach activities to commemorate Law Day, which is Sunday, May 1.

A total of 12 courses are on the schedule. The one-hour seminars start at 9 a.m. and end at 1 p.m. The classes, which meet in the Lesar Law Building, are free but registration is required.

"This is a unique opportunity for someone to go to ‘law school' for a day," said Dean Peter C. Alexander.

"We have a building full of legal experts who know a lot about a variety of topics," Alexander said. "We thought it might be fun to share those topics in a classroom setting."


Media Advisory

Reporters and photographers are encouraged to cover the legal classes. For more information, contact Mike Ruiz at the SIUC law school at 618.453-8858.



The event, part of Law Day celebrations nationwide, is a joint project with "Equal Justice Works," a student organization at the law school. The faculty will be able to answer general legal education questions, said Michael P. Ruiz, law school director of admissions, media and community affairs.

Law Day "is an en exciting opportunity in our country to remind non-lawyers about the power of law and rule of law," Alexander said.

Alexander said he hopes the People's Law School allows the community to appreciate the resources available.

"We do have these incredible legal experts on our faculty who know a lot about many subjects," Alexander said. "I hope they will learn a little bit more about an area of the law or a few areas of the law that they have some knowledge about or interest in."

Many area residents already use the law school library and the self-help legal center, and attend many events sponsored in the building.

"We are pretty fortunate that we have a lot of people who come to the law school for the many events we sponsor, and we do draw from a broad cross-section of the community," he said. "Hopefully this will attract even more of our neighbors."

To register for a free class, call 618/453-8858 or email lawrecep@siu.edu. Registration is accepted up to the day of the event.

Expanding community outreach is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.

Here is a schedule of events, the topic, and the faculty members participating in Law Day 2005.


  • 9 a.m. – Basic legal research for the non-lawyer. Assistant professor Diane Murley, associate law library director and associate professor Laurel Wendt, information technology director and professor James Duggan, and law library director and professor Frank Houdek.
  • 9 a.m. – An overview of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Associate professor Cheryl Anderson.
  • 9 a.m. – Real Estate: Buying and Selling. Associate dean for academic affairs and associate professor Wenona Whitfield.
  • 9 a.m. – Your legal rights as a medical patient. Professor Marshall B. Kapp.
  • 10 a.m. – Traffic and DUI laws. Professor William A. Schroeder.
  • 10 a.m. – "What does your lawyer owe you? Know your rights as a client." Assistant professor Mark Schultz.
  • 10 a.m. – Immigration issues. Assistant professor Michelle Slack.
  • 11 a.m. – Consumer's rights with respect to bank accounts, credit cards and debit cards. Professor R.J. Robertson
  • 11 a.m. – Clergy and counseling malpractice. Director of law student development Jessica Davis.
  • 11 a.m. – Copyrights for visual and performing arts. Assistant professor Sue Liemer.
  • Noon – Living wills and power of attorney. Professor W. Eugene Basanta.
  • Noon – The fundamentals of restorative justice. Second Circuit Chief Judge George W. Timberlake