More cases, more fees…

Lydia Coutré

Kent State students see increase in Legal Service fees.


Kent State students see increase in Legal Service fees

Student Legal Services raised its fee by $2 this semester to accommodate for the cost of hiring a new staff member and moving to downtown Kent.

The fee is now $9 per semester, a price students can expect to remain the same for the next five years, said senior staff attorney Carol Crimi. The recent increase is the first one since SLS opened in 2005.

SLS is a non-profit general practice law firm.

“Our fee levels are set at what we project our necessary operating expenses will be, which are primarily the overhead, running the office and standard salaries,” Crimi said.

Students who wish to opt out of the $9 fee may do so through their Flashline account at the beginning of each semester. By doing so, students forfeit their eligibility for the program.

SLS can assist students with misdemeanor criminal cases, traffic cases, landlord-tenant matters, consumer matters, family matters and numerous other miscellaneous matters.

The firm began operating by the initiative of Undergraduate Student Government. Kent State is one of only six campuses in Ohio that has a program like this, Crimi said. SLS is working to meet the growing demand for its services.

“Throughout the years, our case load has increased every year, and that’s why we’re at a point where we need to add a third staff attorney,” Crimi said.

Current paralegal and office administrator Jamison Offineer will become the third attorney, and newly hired Stacie Sandrock will take over his job.

“We’ll need additional funds to provide compensation for that staff member,” Offineer said. “Also, because of having to add another staff member, we had to move here, which has caused a lot more overhead than what we were paying on campus — a significant amount more.”

The SLS offices are now located at 164 E. Main St. Suite No. 203, in Acorn Alley.

Crimi said staff members of SLS are excited to be at a new location, and she sees several benefits of the new office: the close proximity to the courthouse and to neighborhoods where many of their clients reside.

Attorneys from SLS don’t take any money they recover for a client, unlike attorneys from other firms who would want a portion for compensation.

Crimi said she considers the $9 fee a good value.

“It’s basically like an insurance policy,” Offineer said. “If you think about it, it’s probably the cheapest insurance policy — considering the benefits — you get.”

Since the time SLS has been in existence, Crimi said she can comfortably estimate that she has personally saved clients $300,000, whether from getting people their security deposits back or settling accident cases.

Offineer said students seeking legal council should call the SLS offices at 330-672-9550.

Contact news correspondent Lydia Coutré at [email protected]