Legal issues, sometimes having nothing to do with the college, can be real barriers to students in studying and even taking classes. Madison College has partnered with Lawyers for Learners in offering free legal services to students and community members. Lawyers for Learners is an organization that helps people overcome legal obstacles, empowering them to move forward with their lives and achieve their educational and career goals.
Madison College legal studies/paralegal students intern and volunteer at the Clinic. In addition to the capstone legal studies/paralegal Internship course (requiring 140 internship hours), a new course, Clinic Internship for Legal Studies/Paralegal (also requiring 140 internship hours), was created as a legal elective, to allow students the option to intern at the Clinic for at least 280 hours. Those internships are typically paid, although many students volunteer at the Clinic even when they are not in either internship course. The attorneys at the Clinic, in an average semester, host about four legal studies/paralegal student interns and 10 to 20 legal studies/paralegal student volunteers.
In the first fifteen months of the Clinic, there were 428 requests for legal assistance. Some of the legal issues addressed by the Clinic include: Bankruptcy; Business Start-ups for our entrepreneurial students; Child Support and Family Law; Criminal Records; Driver’s License Restoration; Expungement; Immigration; Rental Housing; Victim of Crime; Simple Wills and Powers of Attorney; and more.
The Legal Clinic also hosts several Know Your Rights presentations and self-service resources. One of the Clinic legal partners just received a City of Madison grant to expand its pro bono services and training at Madison College and the Legal Studies/Paralegal students will be involved in that work. The Madison College Legal Clinic webpages include many resources for immigration rights, those exploring retirement and businesses.