YPSILANTI – The Eastern Michigan University Legal Resource Center, in which EMU paralegal students offer assistance to more than 200 community members each month, is celebrating its 15th anniversary this fall.
The center, located in the Washtenaw County Courthouse in downtown Ann Arbor, was founded in Sept. 2004. Since then, it has become a nationally recognized, collaborative effort between with the county, providing legal expertise to members of the community in family and probate law, landlord-tenant disputes and small claims matters.
Eastern blends learning with community service
“The Legal Resource Center demonstrates how EMU can be a pioneer in the space of combining academic opportunity with community investment,” says Luke Yates, Workforce Engagement & Community Development Coordinator for Engage@EMU.
“The Center provides EMU paralegal students the opportunity to work inside the courthouse and provide members of the community equal access to the justice system. The Center has a sizable impact on the community, helping more than 200 patrons a month, an average of half are Ypsilanti residents.”
The Legal Resource Center does not provide help with appeals or criminal matters. Assistance is free to all patrons.
Filling a crucial need for legal access
“Every year, thousands of people struggle to navigate the court system on their own,” Yates says. “Our agency fills a vital need in our community, as it helps people better understand and find their way through a complex legal system. Too many people are deprived of their rights because they don't understand the court system, and this must be changed. If we are to have a truly equal society, we must have equal access to the justice system."
The center is located in the courthouse facility at 101 East Huron Street and is open Tuesday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The center follows EMU's academic calendar and will be closed Nov. 27-28 and Dec. 24-Jan. 1 during the Fall 2019 semester.
For more information, see the Legal Resource Center website or call 734.994.0160. If you are interested in donating to help support the center’s activities, see the private donation link in the EMU Foundation website.
About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 18,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and, its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website.