Our aim of providing professional legal services to eligible CU students is limited by conflicts of interest and certain University rules.
For example, sometimes two students are charged as co-defendants in a criminal case and one or both of the students says the situation is the other student’s fault; in those situations, there exists an irreconcilable conflict and we cannot represent more than one of the students. If one of the students already has a lawyer and the other student comes to us, we can generally advise and/or represent the second student without a problem.
On the other hand, when two student co-defendants come to us together about their situations, we can usually meet with them to explore the conflict issue and whether or not it can be waived. If it is possible to waive the conflict and both students agree to do so, then we can generally advise and/or represent both.
In civil (non-criminal) cases where one student has a legal claim against another, our office cannot represent either student. In civil cases that involve roommate disputes, however, we may see the first of the two students who comes to our office; once we learn that another student is involved, we will limit our assistance on the matter to a one-time, advice-only appointment. We will also cover the difference in consultation costs on the matter for the second student to see a private attorney from our referral list for up to an hour.
Note that we do not necessarily consider it a conflict of interest to advise or represent a student on a case just because another student is listed as a victim in the case. The main reason for this is because a student listed as a victim in a case frequently has one or more other offices, both on- and off-campus (such as the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance, the Student Conduct Office, the Office of Victim Assistance, the prosecutor’s office or a private attorney’s office), working for his or her interest and/or available for his or her support. We assess potential conflicts on cases in which students are listed as victims according to the particular facts of each situation.
Please also note that, as our staff members are CU employees, we cannot assist students with legal claims against the University. We do not, however, consider it a conflict to advise or represent a student with regard to a Student Conduct or Housing & Dining hearing or appeal as these proceedings are not adversarial in nature.
University rules also sometimes prevent Student Legal Services from helping students with their legal issues. For example, our office does not represent students on certain serious types of cases. Students with serious cases are nonetheless encouraged to contact our office so that we can assess their situations and provide referrals if we cannot represent them.
Conflicts of interest or problems with University rules can also arise "mid-case." If such a situation presents itself during our representation of one or more students and it cannot be or is not resolved, we must immediately move to withdraw as counsel for all of the students. SLS cannot reimburse students for any time with private attorneys in this situation.
There are numerous situations that could limit Student Legal Services’ ability to advise or represent students with respect to their legal issues. We try to help as many students as we can in as many situations as we can but sometimes we will be unable to do so because of the Rules of Professional Conduct for attorneys and/or University rules.