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Student life to provide free legal consultation for undocumented students

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Sep 07, 2021

The Division of Student Life at College of Lake County (CLC) now offers legal consultation for undocumented and DACA students to the list of services it provides.

CLC is strategically committed to creating success for every student through a supportive, barrier-free environment that enables them to achieve academic, career and personal goals.

Grayslake AtriumIn a partnership with North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic, undocumented and DACA students can schedule a 30-minute appointment with a lawyer to receive consultation. They will not receive any representation through the service, but the students will gain a better understanding of how to proceed with their personal situation.

The addition of this service gives undocumented and DACA students the opportunity to use a service they may not be able to afford or feel comfortable accessing otherwise and at no cost.

Dean of Student Life Dr. Gabe Lara said this partnership, which got a trial run in the spring and is now at CLC full-time, gives students a service the college wanted to offer but those working here couldn’t provide themselves.

“We don’t want to offer them legal advice because we aren’t lawyers,” Lara said. “We want to bring people in to get real them real help.”

The consultation is funded by Student Government Association.

It was difficult for CLC to determine the need for the service because many undocumented students are “in the shadows,” or don’t want their status known, but during the first semester of the service, over 30 students took advantage of the opportunity. The appointments were virtual, so the number could rise in person.

“The number might seem low for now, but it’s 30 people who felt comfortable to use the service,” Lara said. “The more knowledge people have of the service, the more people will use it.”

Two workshops are also being provided to the CLC campus community that deal with topics including how to work with undocumented students and what to do if something arises with their status.

This is the first legal service CLC provides, but Lara said plans are in place for another one to arrive on campus shortly. A free general legal consultation service is planned to be offered by the end of the fall semester.

A general legal consultation would help students receive guidance with things like housing, DUIs, domestic violence, traffic violations or any other legal issue that could arise. A service like this could get a lot of use, Lara said, based on his experience at other institutions with similar initiatives.

Like the consultation for undocumented and DACA students, general legal consultation allows students who may not be able to afford legal help an opportunity to gain access at no cost.

About College of Lake County

College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college committed to equitable high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities it serves in northeastern Illinois. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, college classes are affordable and accessible to help each student achieve academic, career and personal goals. More than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969. College of Lake County is the only higher-education institution ranked among the top 15 best places to work in Illinois by Forbes and is a national leader in many areas, including sustainability and conservation.