students walking around the UMCStudent Legal Services (SLS) is required to charge for most consultation and all representation services. Note that, effective July 1, 2022, consultations on Landlord/Tenant matters are free. Payments to SLS may be made by credit card, debit card, check, money order or cash. SLS cannot bill student accounts.


Consultation fees for eligible students:

  • $30 if the full student activity fee for the current term has been paid
  • $35 if the base student activity fee for the current term has been paid
  • $35 if the consultation takes place within three months of the last term for which a student activity fee was paid

SLS charges consultation fees per student per legal issue; however, the fee structure is slightly different when criminal co-defendants or tenants with the same legal issue come in together to meet with us.

For most legal issues, the consultation fee includes up to a one-hour meeting with an SLS lawyer and, if needed, up to a one-hour follow-up meeting with the same lawyer. Some types of consultations do not include a follow-up appointment.


Additional Payments
Be advised that students often also have to pay additional money to organizations or people other than SLS. Any such financial obligations are separate from and unrelated to money paid to SLS. See Non SLS payments at the bottom of this page for examples of these types of obligations.
To be represented by a SLS attorney, a student must consult with SLS about the legal issue, sign our fee agreement and pay to us an additional amount called a services retainer. The services retainer covers SLS’s services work and will be either in the form of a flat fee or an hourly rate. The amount of the services retainer will depend on several factors, including:
  • The type, seriousness and number of legal issues 
  • The amount of work the attorney needs to do to help with the issue(s)
  • The locations of any courts where cases have been or may be filed

Flat fee

Most SLS services retainers are flat fee, meaning that there is a set amount paid to SLS for attorney representation. Flat fees generally range from $100 to $2,850, depending on a student’s circumstances. Students with documentation of certain Federal financial aid may qualify for a partial fee waiver.

Hourly fee

On certain types of cases, SLS attorneys must be hired by the hour. In these situations, a student must pay an initial services retainer, and then supplement the services retainer with additional money as needed to cover SLS’s hourly rate. Students with documentation of certain Federal financial aid may qualify for a partial rate adjustment.

Cost retainer

Depending on the situation, a cost retainer may also be required by SLS. A cost retainer is used to pay for expenses associated with SLS’s representation, such as fees for filing documents, requesting juries, blood retests and expert witnesses, as well as things like case investigation and subpoena service. We do not collect cost retainers unless such expenses are anticipated. Because student clients are responsible for all expenses associated with SLS’s representation, they may have to supplement their cost retainer accounts one or more times.

If a student’s case is one that the SLS attorney is willing to take on and the student wants to hire SLS, the attorney will discuss the services and costs retainers at a consultation. Services and cost retainer information would also be outlined in our fee agreement.

Please note that even if a student meets the eligibility requirements, there is no guarantee that an SLS attorney will take the student on as a client or continue to represent the student until the legal situation is resolved. For example, some legal issues require resources the office does not have and sometimes limitations on our services or other issues prevent representation. In the event we cannot provide legal services, we will do our best to refer to another lawyer who can.

Non SLS payments

Students often also have to pay money related to their legal issues to organizations or people other than SLS. Money paid to SLS is only for consultation fees and, as appropriate, retainers for services and costs; it never covers any other financial obligations of students. Such financial obligations often result from the resolution of a legal matter and may include those noted below.

  • Payments required by a court, such as those for:
    • Court fines, fees, costs, surcharges and restitution (paid to the court)
    • Probation supervision (paid to either the court or the probation office)
    • Community service (paid to either the court or the community service office)
    • Classes (paid to the class providers)
    • Drug testing (paid to the testing agency)
    • Money awarded to another party to a case (typically paid directly to the prevailing party)
  • Payments agreed to in settlement of a case