Big changes are being made at AC’s legal clinic

Student Reporter

Amarillo College’s Legal Clinic is in the process of implementing changes pertaining to its available services as well as new requirements to qualify for free legal aid. 

The legal clinic will be on hiatus until then. However, students are still welcome to come in for any legal advice they may need. 

The legal clinic is partnering up with Legal Aid of Northwest Texas to offer more support to students. “The Legal Aid of Northwest Texas has the ability to do more kinds of cases: family law, immigration, criminal and some other things that we were too limited to do,” Mark White, the executive vice president and general counsel for Amarillo College, said.  “They have the resources. They have a lot of lawyers.” 

The new changes also include putting restrictions on who can use the clinic. “When the new legal clinic is opened, there will be some income guidelines,” White said. “I think most students will be able to meet those, but since Legal Aid of Northwest Texas is partially funded by the Feds and the state, they have guidelines. If you make too much money, you can’t get legal services.”

The Legal Clinic strives to help students who may not have the resources to deal with their legal struggles. “Most students who utilize the legal clinic don’t have the money to go somewhere else and hire a lawyer,” April Mock, paralegal, said. “Lawyers start off between $300 and $500 an hour, and they want that
cash up front. That’s a lot of money for students. It’s a lot of money for most people, just to be able to write a $10,000 check.” 

Mock said the legal clinic assists an average of 120 each year. “From the end of June of last year, we have done $3.6 million in free legal services,” she said.  “As of then, we have seen right around 740 cases in the legal clinic.”

Meesha Westmoreland, a psychology major, said she didn’t even know Amarillo College had a legal clinic. “I would definitely use the legal clinic, if I ever needed to,” she said. “Having access to all different types of resources is great because Amarillo College students come from all walks of life and are all different ages.”

The Legal Clinic is hoping to open its doors back up to students in the next month or two. Students can visit office 322 in the Byrd Business building for any legal advice they need.

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