April 25, 2006

People's Law School set for Saturday at SIUC

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Southern Illinois University Carbondale law school will open up its classrooms to give the public the chance to attend free legal classes on Saturday, April 29. Subjects for the People's Law School range from understanding the new bankruptcy laws to what to do when stopped by police.

The event is part of Law Day observances throughout the nation. The law school has historically participated in a variety of outreach activities to commemorate Law Day, which is Monday, May 1.

A total of seven courses are available. 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 those interested must register in advance.

This is the second year that classes – utilizing SIUC's legal experts – will be available at the law school.


Media Advisory

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


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

In addition to the classes, WSIU-FM is also promoting the law school's Law Day activities. At 8:30 a.m., Thursday, April 27, WSIU-FM's "Point of Law" program is previewing People's Law School. At 8:30 a.m., Monday, May 1, the station's "Morning Conversations" will discuss national Law Day and preview the "Ask a Lawyer" phone bank later in the day. Also on Monday, people with legal queries can call WSIU-FM at 800-745-9748, 618/453-9748, or send an email to talkback@wsiu.org to have questions answered by volunteer attorneys between 3 and 6 p.m.

Many area residents already use the law school library and the self-help legal center, and attend many events at the law school, Ruiz said.

"Offering free classes to the public at the People's Law School is just another example of the School of Law living up to its mission of ‘serving the public good,' "Ruiz said.

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 2006:

  • 9 a.m. – Naturalization workshop. Assistant professor Cindy G. Buys.
  • 9 a.m. – Understanding the new bankruptcy laws. Dean Peter C. Alexander.
  • 10 a.m. – Criminal law; traffic and DUI laws. Professor William A. Schroeder.
  • 10 a.m. – Mediation. Visiting Assistant Clinical Professor Lynn M. Malley.
  • 11 a.m. – Paying your bills: checks, credit cards and debit cards. Professor R.J. Robertson.
  • 11 a.m. – Living wills and powers of attorney. Professor W. Eugene Basanta.
  • Noon – What to do when stopped by the police. Heidi E. Ramos, project coordinator, Self Help Legal Clinic, and Todd D. Sigler, director, SIUC Department of Public Safety.