students walking around campusStudent Legal Services’ (SLS) mission of providing professional legal services to eligible CU Boulder students is limited. We try to help as many students as we can in as many situations as we can but sometimes we will be unable to do so because of the Rules of Professional Conduct for attorneys, university rules or other reasons. Some of the common problematic situations we encounter are detailed below.

Student against student

In civil cases where one student has a legal claim against another, our office cannot represent and generally may not even advise either student. In civil cases that involve roommate disputes, however, we may see the first of the two students who contacts our office, but we will limit our assistance on the matter to a one-time, advice-only appointment. In these situations, we will also cover the difference in consultation cost for the second student to see a private attorney from our referral list for up to one hour. Please note that this is the only situation in which SLS can reimburse students for costs associated with private attorneys.

Students as co-defendants

Sometimes two students are charged as co-defendants in a criminal case and one or both of the students says the situation is the other student’s fault. In those situations, there is an irreconcilable conflict and we cannot advise or represent more than one of the students.

When student co-defendants are not blaming each other, we can usually meet with all of them to explore the potential conflict and whether or not it can be waived. If it is possible to waive the potential conflict and the co-defendant students agree to do so, then we can generally advise and represent all of them.

Note that we do not necessarily consider it problematic to advise or represent a student on a criminal case because a second student is either listed as a co-defendant in the case or has been wronged by the first student. The main reason for this is because a criminal case is not structured as one person against another person like a civil case is; a criminal case is structured as the government against a person.

Also, students wronged by other students frequently have one or more agencies working in their interest or available for their support, such as the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance (OIEC), Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution office, Office of Victim Assistance, the prosecutor’s office or a private attorney’s office.

SLS assesses its ability to represent students on criminal cases such as these according to the particular facts of each situation.

Claims against CU Boulder

Our staff members are CU Boulder employees and we cannot assist students with legal claims against the university as it would be a conflict of interest. It is not, however, a problem for SLS to advise or represent a student with regard to hearings for alleged violations of the Student Conduct Code, Honor Code or dorm rules, or with regard to  many alleged violations of Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance (OIEC) policies.

Serious cases

SLS does not represent students on certain serious cases. We encourage students with serious legal issues to call anyway so that we can assess their situations and do our best to provide referrals if we cannot represent them.

Problems during representation

Conflicts of interest or problems with University rules or other issues can also arise "mid-case." If such a situation presents itself during our representation of one or more students and it either cannot be or is not resolved, we must immediately move to withdraw as counsel for all of the students.