Katie-Rose Watson, a junior German major, might have been saved some legal trouble if she had known about the free legal service offered to all students by the Student Government Association. After being run over by a car on Stadium Drive in November, Watson felt she had nowhere to turn for legal advice.
“I rolled on top of the car’s windshield and the car didn’t even stop,” Watson said. “When I got back from the hospital, I didn’t know who to contact or what to do. I wish I would have known that there was free legal advice available at TCU.”
Like many students, Watson had no idea that Chuck Rowland, an attorney and counselor at law for the past 22 years, has provided free legal advice on campus since December 2007.
Larry Markley, former SGA adviser and retired director of the Brown-Lupton Student Union, said SGA has provided the free legal service for at least 20 years.
Rowland came to campus every week to give legal advice until two weeks ago, said Marlon Figueroa, junior finance major and SGA treasurer. During budgeting last semester, Figueroa noticed that students hardly utilized Rowland’s services, which led to the cutback of his time on campus. Now the attorney comes to campus every other Wednesday.
The money used to pay for the free legal services came from part of the $24 student body fee all students pay per semester, Figueroa said. Rowland used to be paid $3,000 a semester. That was an already reduced rate he provided for students compared to billable rate at his full-time job, Bailey & Galyen law firm. He now receives $1,500 a semester, Figueroa said.
The free lawyer service provided students with a way to avoid the expense of an attorney, Rowland said. General questions would be answered and students received advice on what kind of direction to take with their legal problem.
“I don’t know if people are intimidated by seeing a lawyer, but I am a pretty easy-going, laid-back type of guy,” Rowland said.
Kim Turner, SGA adviser and assistant director of operations at the BLUU, said Rowland could not give advice in disputes between students and the university.
Otherwise, legal concerns that students have involve parking or speeding tickets, tenant and landlord disputes or consumer issues. Only a handful of students, however, used the free legal service last semester, Rowland said.
For students who recently reached the legal age of 18, this service could help clarify different rules and regulations in the legal system, said Chris Hassler freshman business major. If more people knew about the service, it could help save students from a lot of stress, Hassler said.
What: Free legal advice from Attorney Chuck Rowland
When: Oct. 28 and every other Wednesday from 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Where: Study room in BLUU Student Organizations Offices