Baylor Law School to Inaugurate 'People's Law School'

Jan. 24, 2006

by Alan Hunt, (254) 710-6271

Baylor Law School will open its classrooms to the public on Saturday, Feb. 25, as it hosts the first "People's Law School." The program is free and open to the public.

The People's Law School is a half-day event where volunteer attorneys and legal experts teach courses designed to educate consumers about their legal rights and to make the law "user friendly." Baylor Law School plans to sponsor the program annually for the Central Texas community.

"The Law School is so pleased to host this event," said Law Dean Brad Toben. "Our theme in our law school educational program is one that emphasizes service as the essence of lawyering. This program is one that focuses upon equipping laypersons to understand the legal issues that may touch their lives. That, of course, is one of the touchstones of a helping profession -- meeting people at their point of need."

Twelve 60-minute courses are being offered at this year's event, which will be held at the Sheila and Walter Umphrey Law Center on the north side of University Parks Drive on the Baylor campus. Registered participants can attend any two courses of their choosing. The courses focus on useful issues such as consumer rights, small businesses, landlord/tenant rights, health insurance, bankruptcy, retirement planning, wills, elder law, employment law, and family law. (A complete list of the courses offered appears below.)

The program begins at 8:30 a.m. with check-in, followed by introductory statements at 9:15 a.m. Courses will be taught from 9:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. during two timeslots. For example, participants can take a Wills and Estate Planning course at 9:30 a.m. and a Small Business course at 10:40 a.m. The courses are directed toward people who need general legal information about the law.

Anyone interested in attending this event must register online or by mail. To register by mail, participants should pick up a registration card at any of the seven Shipley Do-Nut locations in McLennan County. The registration card contains a detachable postcard, which must be mailed by Friday, Feb. 17. Participants also can register online by visiting Baylor Law School's website at http://law.baylor.edu and clicking on the "People's Law School" link. The deadline for online registrations is Tuesday, Feb. 21. Only those who have registered for this event before the relevant deadlines will be eligible to attend.

The first 200 participants to check-in on the day of the event will receive a free copy of Richard Alderman's book "Know Your Rights: Answers to Texan's Everyday Legal Questions." Professor Alderman, who is commonly referred to as the "People's Lawyer," is the director of the Center for Consumer Law at the University of Houston Law Center. More information on Texans' legal rights will be available at the event via brochures covering a vast area of legal issues.

For more information, visit the People's Law School website, or contact the program coordinators, Professor Patricia Wilson at Baylor Law School, (254) 710-6591, Patricia_Wilson@baylor.edu; and law student Mollie C. McGraw, phone (254) 644-9962, Mollie_McGraw@baylor.edu.

Participants can register for up to two courses from the following list:

Access to the Law

• Small Claims Court

• How to find and work with an attorney

• Arbitration and mediation

Consumer Law I

• Deceptive car sales

• Shoddy home and car repairs

Consumer Law II

• Dealing with debt collectors

• Fair Credit Reporting Act

Employment Law

• Hiring and firing employees

• Discrimination at work

• How to get paid for your work

Elder Law

• The New Medicare Prescription Drug Plan

• Guardianship

• Scams against the elderly

• Social Security and Medicare

Family Law

• Divorce, child custody and support

• Grandparents rights

• Protective orders

• Adoption

Finding the Law

• Where to find the law

• How to use the library and Internet

Landlord/Tenant Rights

• Rights and responsibilities

• Fair Housing Act

• Deposits

• Repairs

Insurance Law

• Dealing with insurance companies

• Auto insurance and auto accidents

• What to do when you have a claim

• Maximizing insurance claim recovery

• Homeowner and health insurance claims

Personal Bankruptcy

• Consumer bankruptcy laws

• What bankruptcy means for individuals

Small Business

• Choice of business entity

• Tips to avoid legal pitfalls

Wills and Estate Planning

• Requirements of a valid will

• Basic estate planning techniques

• Powers of Attorney

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