IPO News

IPO, SLSO to Launch Free Legal Help Sessions

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Can I drive in the United States? How do I get my security deposit back? Does this email seem fishy? How can I remain in the United States after my studies are completed? These questions—and many more— are on the table for international students when the International Programs Office (IPO) and Student Legal Services Office (SLSO) launch the “Ask an Attorney” drop-in sessions this semester. 

The sessions will be held January 30, February 12, March 12, April 29, and May 6, 2020 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. in IPO Room 310, and are free and open to all fee-paying international students. Participants are invited to drop in for a quick one-on-one legal consultation, with an option to complete an intake form for an in-depth appointment at SLSO in the future. All sessions are 100 % confidential.

SLSO Director Atty. Bernadette Stark is facilitating the sessions.  “If any student has an issue that they’re unsure about—it could be a side note, a question, or a nagging concern—they should always talk to an attorney to make sure that the issue won’t affect their status in the country (even if the issue doesn’t seem to have anything to do with their student visa),” Stark says. “Students don’t leave their rights at the border just because they’re international students.  They’re able to avail themselves of the civil justice system and stand up for their rights, just as domestic students can – and our office can help.”

Associate Director for International Student and Scholar Success Pamela Dutta helped coordinate the sessions with SLSO. “These sessions are providing an accessible and convenient space for international students to get their legal concerns or questions answered quickly,” she says. “Immigration issues are continuously complicated, and with our growing international student population here at UMass Amherst, we wanted to make sure access for free legal help was there.”

For more information, please email Pamela Dutta.