Every Bowling Green State University student sees a list of optional fees when they pay their bill each semester. One of these fees is a $9 charge for Student Legal Services, which provides students with a variety of legal assistance.
BGSU employs two full time attorneys on campus: Attorney Rodney A. Fleming and Attorney Michael S. Skulina. Both have worked for the university for over twenty years. As long as students do not opt out of the fee, they can use the legal services at no extra cost to them.
Attorney Fleming said, “the students are pooling their money and then those that need it get a great benefit. Those who choose to come and see us don't have to pay anything else. For that nine dollars they get access to two full time attorneys who will go to court in the local court system for them.”
This is important because attorneys off campus can have rates per hour of over $150 along with high upfront costs. The $9 fee is much more accessible and helps students in need.
In addition to low costs, the office can also help students quickly. Appointments can be set within a couple of days, instead of waiting for a much longer amount of time to find representation.
Attorney Skulina said, “I would just really encourage students to utilize us...They don't realize this office is here and the extreme benefit that we can provide to them if the need arises.”
The office, located in the College Park office building just past Falcon Heights, can provide legal counsel and representation for a multitude of legal cases. “We have our core sort of caseload that involves misdemeanor criminal defense, a lot of alcohol related and drug related charges. That seems to be almost half of what we do,” Fleming said. Attorney Skulina clarifies, “That would include traffic.”
However, there are certain limitations to what Attorneys Fleming and Skulina can represent a student in court for. While parking violations, domestic matters and landlord-tenant issues are covered, legal cases involving immigration, taxes and property damage claims must be taken to another attorney off campus. This is due to limits based on geographical location, money and time. Both attorneys can only travel so far to represent one student.
Students can be helped outside of the Bowling Green municipality, as some cases have occurred in Perrysburg and other surrounding cities and counties. Other aspects of legal issues, including taxes and immigration, experience many changes in law every year so it would be in students best interest to find a lawyer who specializes in that area.
“We can at least give you advice and direction on the best ways to resolve or handle your legal issue,” Fleming said. “We have been doing this long enough that we have a pretty extensive network of attorneys that we can refer students to.”
“It’s the best deal you can get for attorneys. Literally, for nine dollars a semester you have access to basically a full service law firm that charges no additional fees. So anytime you have a legal question at all you shouldn't hesitate to make an appointment and come on in and meet with one of us,” Fleming said. “A lot of times by addressing a legal issue before it...gets out of hand, you can keep it under control, quickly resolved, and not impact your life much at all.”
If you ever find yourself in need of any help in regards to any legal issue, contact the Student Legal Services office to set up an appointment using the information below.
14 College Park Office Building
Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green, Ohio 43403