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16The Tar Had Thursday. July 16, 1237
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Tar Heel Steve Matteson
Dorothy Bernholz of Student Legal Services
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Itameed of some legal adlvici?
3 lawyers aire at yonir service
By ALEX MARSHALL
How would you like to have
your own personal lawyer at your
disposal, just like a large corpo
ration or some rich big shot? If
you found yourself in a sticky
situation and needed some legal
advice, you'd swivel in your leather
desk chair, reach for the phone
and talk to "your" lawyer while
you chomped on a cigar.
Well, as a matter of fact, you
do have your own lawyer three
of them Dorothy Bernholz,
David Kirkman and Carol Bad
gett. You have to share them with
23,000 other students, but they are
your lawyers your student
activity fees pay their salaries.
They are Student Legal Services
and are located in Suite 222 in the
Student Union. And if you need
their advice, just walk in or call
any weekday from 8:30 a.m. to 5
p.m. Their telephone is 933-1303.
No appointment necessary.
These three lawyers represent
over 200 students a month
"Which any lawyer will tell you
is a lot of clients," Bernholz said.
Bernholz is the director of SLS
and is one of the two full-time
lawyers there; Carol Badgett
works part-time. Bernholz has
been with the program since its
start in 1975.
What exactly can your lawyers
do for you?
With 23,000 possible clients,
there are some limitations. But
they can represent a student, free
of charge, for the following situa
tions and problems.
They can help you in landlord
tenant disputes. This accounts for
the largest percentage of their
cases, Bernholz said. A student
might come in and say he did not
get his security deposit, or the
apartment he lived in was not
being maintained properly. SLS
will go to court if necessary,
although mediation is always tried
SLS can help you recover
damages in small claims court for
matters involving less than $1500.
They can even carry out an
SLS also does "expungements"
for students who have arrest
records. SLS can strike the record
from the books, if the student was
found not guilty or the charges
Most importantly, your legal
counsel can give you lots of advice,
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both before and after you get in
trouble. Students have even called
them from jail, Bernholz said.
"Our best service is the advice
we give," said Bernholz. "We try
to get information out to the
students. We don't want some
body to wait until they get in
trouble to see us. We practice
The SLS office has pamphlets
on a variety of subjects, including
leasing an apartment, traffic reg
ulations, buying a car and lawful
use of alcohol. One pamphlet,
called "Dick and Jane in Trouble
with Alcohol," explains how to
avoid trouble with the law when
drinking, and proper procedures
to follow if you don't.
Is there anything your lawyers
cannot help you with?
Unfortunately, they cannot help
you sue the University, said Bern
holz. This was one of the condi
tions upon which the University
allowed the program to be created.
Nor can they help you sue another
When SLS was created in 1975,
it was one of the first such services,
said Bernholz. The principal
rationale for its creation was that
North Carolina had lowered the
age of legal adulthood to 18, she
said. Suddenly, students were able
to sign legal contracts, such as
leases, and suffer the consequen
ces. Plus, she said, the University
greatly expanded its enrollment
about that time without building
. new dormitories, so students
fanned out over Chapel Hill and
Carrboro looking for places to
Bernholz emphasized that their
services are very accessible to the
students. "IVe got a desk full of
work," she said, sweeping her hand
over the pile of papers on it. "Yet,
if someone were to walk in, I'd
see him immediately."
So if you find yourself in a bind,
or better yet, before you find
yourself in a bind, drop by or call
your lawyers at Student Legal
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