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Purdue Student Legal Services Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Leslie Charters speaking at Student Legal Services 10 Year Anniversary
Leslie Charters speaking at Student Legal Services 10 Year Anniversary

This fall, Student Legal Services is celebrating 10 years of impact on the Purdue community. The organization recently held an event to commemorate its first decade of service to Purdue students.

Student Legal Services (SLS), part of the Office of the Dean of Students and under the auspices of the Office of the Vice Provost for Student Life, provides free and confidential legal services available to all Purdue students. Services offered include landlord/tenant disputes, criminal issues, power of attorney, traffic tickets, garnishment and collection matters, notary services, family law issues, name change, city or county ordinance violations and small claims. SLS was created after being identified as a need by Purdue Student Government.

Display Board with photos from 10 years of Student legal ServicesSLS typically receives 600-700 requests for services each year. At an average rate of $250 per hour for attorneys in the Greater Lafayette area, SLS has saved Purdue students more than $1 million in legal fees since its inception. Students report a 95 percent satisfaction rate with services provided by SLS.

Graduate student Stewart Bauserman contacted SLS when he was experiencing issues with a landlord. Thanks to the advice he received, he was able to resolve his issues quickly.

“SLS responded very quickly to my request for a meeting every time I had renter-landlord issues,” Bauserman wrote. “I met with Leslie Charters [director of SLS]. She listened to my issues and gave me usable advice that led to quick resolutions each time. As an example, without SLS, I would not have not known about the city agency I needed to contact, or what to tell them when I did. I followed her instructions and my issues with my landlord were resolved by the next day.” 

“Legal services is one of the best ideas on campus,” wrote another client. “This is extremely helpful and beneficial. This gave me the best understanding of my issue and helped reduce my stress. Highly recommend if you are going through some difficult times with the law.” 

Charters has led SLS since its inception. Prior to coming to Purdue, Charters worked as a deputy prosecutor for the Tippecanoe County Prosecutor’s Office for 3.5 years and served as public defender in the Tippecanoe County Public Defender’s Office for 9 months. As part of SLS’ outreach efforts, Charters delivers presentations about risk management and other legal topics to student organizations and classes. She was recently recognized with one of the university’s Bravo Awards, which honor excellence across all university areas and recognize extraordinary employee achievements.

Charters with SLS Interns

Charters has also built a summer legal practicum program, which provides an accessible way for students interested in studying law to make valuable connections and gain practical knowledge. The practicum provides opportunities for students to meet with attorneys in a classroom setting and at a law firm, visit the Tippecanoe County Courthouse to meet with judges and observe trials, meet attorneys from the university and meet one-on-one with attorneys and judges. 

“We’re creating leaders and helping students see the law in practice,” Charters says. “We help them network with lawyers and judges who practice in areas that interest them and get an idea about what lawyers and judges do on a daily basis before they go to law school. This is a kind of access I didn’t get when I was an undergrad.”  

Students can contact Charters to indicate their interest in the practicum, which is open to all Purdue students.

Students in need of legal assistance from SLS can get started by filling out an intake form on the Student Legal Services website. Students will then be contacted to schedule an appointment. Students can also connect with Student Legal Services to view tips of the week and more via InstagramFacebook or Twitter.