With the high cost of legal services, many people can't afford a lawyer and therefore lack the basic information needed to help them make an informed decision.
- Foreclosure mediation
- Family law
- Small claims
"While the classes aren't designed to address each person's individual case, they do provide them with a general understanding about that particular area of law," said Christine Smith, law school associate dean of administration and student affairs.
Attendees leave with enough knowledge to decide if they can handle the process themselves or if they need an attorney, Smith said.
This class helps attendees discover whether bankruptcy is right for them, or if there is a less drastic alternative such as credit counseling. They learn the difference between a Chapter 7 and a Chapter 13 and the benefits and risks of each.
Last fall, the law school and Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada partnered with the local PBS station to develop an online video of the bankruptcy class.
This class covers the basic legal forms and family court processes. Attendees will learn about joint petitions, the proper way to complete an individual or joint petition, and the process for filing forms.
This new class prepares homeowners who have been served with a Notice of Default on their home mortgages and who have then elected to mediate with their lender. The homeowner will be given instructions on what documents to bring and how to prepare for the mediation.
Law students teach the courses as part of their degree requirements. Because of the fine line between legal education and legal advice, a licensed attorney is always present to assist, Smith said.
The classes have assisted more than 30,000 people since they began in 1998, the same year the law school opened. In a typical semester, approximately 50 students teach between 1,200 and 1,500 attendees.
According to Smith, founding dean Richard Morgan's vision for a law school in Nevada would be one that would serve the state, be a service to the community, and provide access to legal assistance for people who otherwise wouldn't have it.
"The students really love to apply what they have been learning in class to a real-life situation," Smith said. "Also, when the attendees leave and are so appreciative, it is really rewarding for the students. We hope that by doing this, the students will continue to be involved in giving back to their communities as professionals."