Connecting students with legal help

By Southwest Wisconsin Technical College

A partnership in Wisconsin gives college students access to legal aid

Southwest Wisconsin Technical College has recently partnered with legal aid program Lawyers for Leaners to make free legal help more accessible to its student and community members.

Numerous barriers, from the financial to the legal, can prevent people from achieving their academic and career goals. In partnering with Lawyers for Learners, Southwest Tech provides students and community members with the resources they need to overcome those barriers and make their goals a reality.

Lawyers for Learners connects people experiencing legal issues, or potential legal issues, with legal professionals from businesses, law firms and legal aid organizations. Besides Southwest Tech, the nonprofit works with several Wisconsin technical and community colleges. Founding member Norma Kropp is legal services chair at Madison College.

“Legal issues can not only be daunting but also huge obstacles in people’s lives,” Kropp said. “Because of their close connections with students and the community, colleges can bridge the gap between legal issues people experience and the legal solutions Lawyers for Learners offers.”

How it works

The legal professionals meet with people for free to explain the legal process, answer questions, and provide advice on a variety of legal topics, including employment, family matters, housing, immigration, bankruptcy and criminal issues.

As part of the partnership, Southwest Tech will help students and community members identify legal issues, share information about Lawyers for Learner and provide campus space, internet access and video conferencing technology for students and community members to meet with legal professionals.

Here is a real-life example of how Lawyers for Learners can help students through legal difficulties: A student’s ability to work in her chosen field of healthcare and her ability to continue with her studies in healthcare were interrupted when the state put her on the caregiver registry due to an incident that happened with a patient who had a history of abusive contact and language with nursing home staff. The Lawyers for Learners Clinic assisted her in requesting and preparing for rehabilitation review hearing, including obtaining support letters from school staff. Her request was granted, and she is now able to seek employment in a field she loves, continue her studies, and better be able to support herself and her children.

“We hope to continue expanding Lawyers for Learners across the state, so people have access to the legal resources they need to get back on their feet and move forward with their lives,” Kropp said.

Learn more here.

Southwest Wisconsin Technical College

is located in Fennimore, Wisconsin.