Boise State students can receive free legal advice through a service provided by the Associated Students of Boise State University (ASBSU).
According to documents shared by ASBSU, this service cost the university $34,650 for the 2022-2023 academic year, making the program the fourth most expensive item out of ASBSU’s $407,194 budget for 2022. This disbursement trails ASBSU personnel expenses, which add up to $88,715.
“It’s important that students have the ability to seek legal advice before they make any decisions without having to potentially pay for it, by and large our lawyers are able to meet with these students and introduce them to their options,” ASBSU President Adam Jones told The Arbiter. “We hope that this is a program that Boise State can continue with this law service for several years to come.”
Schroeder and Lezamiz Law Offices, LLP, the firm contracted out by ASBSU, have been in operation since 1981. Their full-time practice deals primarily with civil cases such as divorce, child custody and other domestic issues including estate planning, general civil litigation, state planning and lower-level criminal offense cases.
One of the firm’s lawyers, Margaret Lezamiz, told The Arbiter that they’ve been involved with the university for over 30 years. She said the top reasons students seek their services are for tenants having issues with their landlords, defense related to misdemeanors and domestic issues relating to divorce, custody, adoptions and guardianships.
The service also covers insurance claims, workplace composition, wills, name changes among others.
If the issues can be classified as felonies, the lawyers will advise students on whether or not they should speak to certain people and advise them to find a defense attorney.
“I look at the importance of the service as for students that don’t have the financial means to employ an attorney, so I can call in and we can talk about their case,” Lezamiz said.
Another service Lezamiz and her colleague John Schroder handle is with Boise State students who are doing their own legal work, whether representing themselves in court or filling any kind of legal work. This includes guiding students through legal forms on the court system website, especially when the normal court assistance office is overwhelmed.
Lezamiz said their firm finds it important to help students having a difficult time with stress from school or mental health to find resources, help them with any legal issues they may have and to understand their rights.
“It’s been insightful to talk to students and keep up with the community needs and students in general. We really enjoy talking with the students and working with them,” Lezamiz said.
Appointments can be scheduled through Student Outreach and Assistance’s legal assistance webpage.