Illustrations by Shelbi Bale

Four things the Student Legal Education Center offers to students

The Student Legal Education Center, previously known as Student Legal Services, is located in Cherry Hall and offers students access to legal resources and education. Lawrenceburg senior and Student Legal Education Center intern Haley Abell explained how to learn more about the services the center offers to students. 

Abell is a paralegal studies major and said she fell in love with the legal field when she took an Advanced Placement government and politics class in high school. 

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“I loved learning about justice and learning the concept of how to help people through my knowledge,” Abell said. 

After she applied, Abell said that she heavily anticipated her internship with the center.

“I really wanted to do something that was active in my community here at the school,” Abell said. 

Due to staff changes this semester, the Student Legal Education Center is no longer able to offer representation to students. However, Abell, who is in control of the Student Legal Education Center’s Instagram, said the center organizes events like name change clinics and creates how-to documents for students detailing various legal processes. 

Petition for Name Change 

Illustration by Shelbi Bale

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A Petition for Name Change is the document needed to officially change a person’s name and would need to be filed with the Circuit Court Clerk. The Student Legal Education Center offers students the official document and a step-by-step guide to help students through the process. 

Abell said that the Student Legal Education Center has held name change clinics at its office and held a name change clinic at the recent Pride celebration in Bowling Green. 

Whether someone is getting married, divorced or simply wants to change their name, Abell said that the center offers help and information for all demographics.

Abell said that Kentucky lawmakers make the process of name changes difficult.

“This is information that people need because they don’t make it easy,” Abell said. “In fact, recently, they’ve only tried to make it harder, it seems like.” 

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Student Information Guides

Illustration by Shelbi Bale

The Student Legal Education Center’s website also has various downloadable PowerPoints that offer easy-to-follow guides for common topics students need to know. These guides include information explaining the Fair Housing Act, how the Point System works in Kentucky and how to obtain an absentee ballot. Abell said this information is especially important to students who are not from Kentucky. 

“They’re spending more than half the year in Kentucky,” Abell said. “Knowing how things work here is really important.”

The links include more general topics, including “Guide to Driving in Kentucky,” “Guide to Voting” and “Guide to Signing a Lease.”

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Abell said that if a professor wants to discuss a legal topic in class, the center’s members can put on a presentation. Abell said that professors can utilize the guides already provided or create a new PowerPoint to fit the topic. 

Kentucky Law 

Illustration by Shelbi Bale

The Student Legal Education Center website offers direct links to sources such as the Kentucky Legislature and the Kentucky Revised Statutes, which is the name given to Kentucky laws. 

When it comes to how students can use this source, Abell says that the Kentucky Revised Statutes cover topics like the Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid

“A lot of people don’t realize that you can lose your FAFSA and KEES funding if you are convicted of a felony,” Abell said. 

The Student Legal Education Center also offers a list of criminal law definitions on its website. Abell said that for students, it’s important to stay informed on the criminal law process.

Abell said the center is available to bring awareness to the legal process and field of law, and if students find themselves in situations where they don’t know what to do, the Student Legal Education Center can help. 

“If you’re aware and able to have an understanding of the legal process, going through it is gonna be a lot less stressful,” Abell said. 

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Representation

Due to staff changes, the Student Legal Education Center is no longer able to offer representation to students. Abell said she’s sending students to Kentucky Legal Aid

Kentucky Legal Aid is a non-profit law firm that has “zealously advocated for impoverished clients in civil courts since 1977.” It provides services to 35 counties in south-central and western Kentucky. 

“They are low cost or no cost, depending on your situation, but they will work with you,” Abell said.

Abell said that the center is still able to guide students toward legal organizations and sources that will. 

“Please reach out to us,” Abell said. “Even if we, personally, cannot do something, we will find someone who can.”

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