History of the UF Division of Student Affairs - Page 112

112 Student Legal Services Student Legal Services is a professional legal office that has provided legal assistance to UF students since 1977. Funded by Student Government through Activities and Service fees, Student Legal Services is a pre-paid legal service for full-time UF students. In 1977, Student Government leaders initiated the proposal to create and fund an office to support the legal needs of students at UF. This program is an example of the types of programs that students were requesting following the student rights movement of the 1960s – 1970s.The proposal was supported by the UF administration. Dean of Students Tom Goodale and law professors joined SG student leaders to form a search committee to select the first director, Leonard Grill. Grill was hired in September 1977. Grill was living in Ohio and had been a practicing attorney for a few years. He had recently passed the Florida Bar and was interested in moving to Florida. Student Legal Services began offering services to students in November 1977 after Grill received Florida Bar approval for UF to provide “group legal services.” UF Student Legal Services was one of the first programs of its type on a college campus. Grill modeled the UF program on existing programs at the University of Indiana-Bloomington and the University of Northern Illinois. Today, a national Student Legal Services listserv reports 250-300 active SLS offices in the United States as well as programs in Canada, England, Germany, Australia, and China. In 1977, Student Legal Services was one attorney and one support staff member with an annual office budget including salaries of between $30,000 and $40,000. Typical services provided included landlord-tenant issues, the dissolution of marriage, and non-criminal traffic issues. Today, the UF SLS budget request to SG is nearly one-half million dollars including salaries for four attorneys and two support staff. Student Legal Services has always been located in the Reitz Union; however, the location of the office within the Union and the amount of allocated space has varied over the years. The location of the offices on the third floor of the Reitz Union is stable now, but technically each year SLS must go through the annual H i s t o r y o f t h e UF D S A