Dave Meyer, a freshman pre-major, said he saved $75 in legal fees by going to the lawyer provided free of charge by the Student Government Association.
Meyer went to see the lawyer, James B. Munford, after he got a ticket for going 93 mph in a 60 mph zone. Meyer said Munford explained his legal options and recommended that he ask the prosecutor for a smaller fine or driving probation.
Meyer hasn’t been to court yet, but said he was very satisfied with the advice he got and was glad he saved the money he was going to pay before he learned about the service.
SGA pays $6,000 annually to provide students with free legal advice from 6-7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays in the Student Center, Reading Room B.
Munford will also consult with TCU students for free over the phone or in his office at 1200 Overlook Terrace.
“This is something students should take advantage of,” Munford said, adding that many other schools offer legal advising but charge for it.
“It is something a lot of students need but can’t afford,” said SGA Treasurer David Watson. “It is a standard part of the SGA budget every year.”
Munford, a board certified family lawyer, said he usually advises three or four students every week on issues such as traffic offenses, family law, landlord-tenant relationships and probate matters.
“I have advised students on just about everything,” Munford said. “I enjoy counseling them.”
Munford said he listens to the student’s situation and explains their legal options, different pleas they can make and the laws surrounding their case. He also explains the benefits of taking defensive driving to students with traffic offenses.
He said once he has heard a student’s case, he recommends an attorney specialized in the area that pertains to that case if needed, and tells the student how to hire a lawyer.
All advising is protected by the attorney-client privilege, meaning it is confidential between the lawyer and advisee, unless the student has a friend that comes with them to the session, Munford said.
Munford graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1976 and South Texas College of Law in 1981. He was board certified as a specialist in family law in 1989, and has been giving legal advice to students at TCU since 1994.