A new face will be gracing the halls of the Associated Students Legal Resource Center.
Ron Perry, an attorney with the Legal Aid Foundation for the past 10 years, will be sharing the reins as co-director with current director Dallas Atkins for the remainder of this quarter. Atkins will remain involved with the ASLRC, but will decrease her presence for personal reasons.
ASLRC lawyers advise students free of charge on cases ranging from housing disputes with landlords to arrests for indecent exposure. Students can schedule appointments over the phone or on a walk-in basis at the ASLRC office, which is located in the A.S. office next to the MultiCultural Center.
Atkins said she hopes to return to fulltime duty as early as April. She has sub-contracted her position to Perry until her eventual return.
LAF lawyers, who have been working with the ASLRC for over a year, will be increasing their hours to compensate for Atkins’ absence.
“Atkins has not gone away, just stepped aside,” Perry said.
Perry steps into the co-director post at a time when ASLRC is continuing to increase the visibility of its services by passing out fliers and holding forums in residence halls.
Three years ago when the program began, legal consultation services were only provided for students via e-mail. A single independent lawyer met the needs of the few students who knew of her existence.
“Students didn’t have a clue that we were there,” Atkins said.
Atkins said she started working for A.S. in 1986, but did not move to the ASLRC until 10 years later when she heard of an opening at UCSB.
“I knew what kind of work it was and I enjoyed it,” Atkins said.
During her tenure, she re-established an on-campus legal aid office with funding from a student lock-in fee.
Today ASLRC has reached its goal of filling up all available weekly appointment hours. Possible plans for further reaching students include renting office space in the CLAS building in Isla Vista and holding a spring concert in an I.V. park.
ASLRC lawyers also host on-campus and community forums to educate students on local legal issues.
A seminar in I.V. last month attracted first-year students and renters who were interested in California tenant’s rights. Lawyers covered every topic from a landlord’s responsibility to repair mold damage to the best ways of ensuring a renter’s security deposit is returned in full.
Perry said the ASLRC looks forward to helping more UCSB students in the future.
“As long as A.S. will have us,” he said, “we love to do it.”