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NDSU Students - Private Legal Assistance

 

The Office of the General Counsel at NDSU represents the University and University employees in matters relating to their employment responsibilities, and associated organizations, but does not give private legal advice to students. For that, students need to seek their own private legal services. Often students are concerned about where they can and should go for this assistance.

Legal information can be divided into three broad categories:

  • general background information;
  • specific legal advice from an attorney; and
  • representation in specific legal matters, such as court proceedings.

Sometimes, students just need general background information which can be provided from certain informational materials, such as in the landlord/tenant area. However, this information is often not specific enough or can be outdated, and students should be careful when relying on such information. The following is a listing of some commonly used numbers, websites and references for information and for legal services to assist students at NDSU. This office makes no recommendation or warranty as to the services or information provided, but is providing this information to NDSU students as a student service.

 


Landlord/Tenant Issues

North Dakota Apartment Association will send you a Landlord/Tenant Rights booklet (701-287-6300). To view the Landlord/Tenant Rights booklet, visit www.ndaa.net.


Attorney Referral Services

North Dakota: State Bar Association of North Dakota, 1-800-932-8880, or www.sband.org/lawreferral.

Minnesota: 1-800-292-4152, or www.mnfindalawyer.com.

These services will provide information about lawyers in your geographical area and in the topic of the legal concern for you to contact individually. Compensation arrangements with the lawyer are your responsibility, but sometimes lawyers have agreed to take certain kinds of cases on a reduced fee basis.


Legal Aid Services

Legal Services of North Dakota (LSND)

  • To access services call 1-800-634-5263, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Persons 60 and over call 1-866-621-9886, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • To access services at any time, you can use the Internet. Go to www.legalassist.org and click on the red star and type in the information.
  • LSND - Fargo - same day emergency only: 232-4495.
  • People requesting services must meet the eligibility requirements to receive services.

LSND provides a range of services through litigation depending on the type of problem.

Government Benefits such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Food Stamps, General Assistance or SSI (disability) and unemployment compensation.

Family Law primarily covers divorce, custody, and protection orders for victims of domestic violence.

Housing includes private tenant problems and public housing.

Consumer Matters, particularly debt/bill collection, medical, individual rights, primarily for health care and financial durable power of attorneys and guardianships.

Other includes Indian law, VITA, and advice on small claims.

Legal Service of Northwest Minnesota

  • Persons with Minnesota legal problems can contact LSNM at 218-233-8585 or 1-800-450-8585.
  • You can apply for legal help in person at the LSNM office or by phone. A Spanish bilingual translator is available. Call the offices Monday through Friday between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. The offices are also open for walk-in service from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • For more information, go to www.lsnmlaw.org.

Services provided by LSNM include:

  • Problems with welfare benefits (including Minnesota Family Investment Program [MFIP], food stamps, General Assistance, and disability benefits).
  • Evictions, landlord/tenant problems, and unsafe housing.
  • Family law matters (including divorce, custody, visitation programs, or domestic violence).
  • Consumer problems.
  • Health law (including Medical Assistance and access to health care).
  • Special education.
  • Other serious civil legal problems.

Traffic violations or criminal cases are not taken.


Yellow Pages

The Yellow Pages in the phone directory has attorneys listed by categories of the type of legal area. Many attorneys do not have their names listed under these various categories, so this is only a partial listing. If you use this method to seek legal services, it is very helpful to try to find out something about the general reputation of the attorney listed. Friends, neighbors, acquaintances, etc., may have used that attorney for legal services before.

Attorneys will sometimes do an initial consultation at no charge to determine whether or not you have a legal problem and whether they can and will represent you. Ask questions about costs for the initial service and fees. If you decide to hire an attorney, you have a right to have the scope of your representation and its costs put in writing. Most attorneys will have a simple retainer contract or will put the terms of the representation in a letter to you. Don't be shy about asking about the costs of the services and related charges.


Small Claims Court

Students can handle their own case in small claims court. Small claims court has jurisdiction in cases that do not exceed $5,000. Information packets cost $5.00 and can be picked up at the Cass County Courthouse, or the clerk will mail the packet for an additional postage charge. Clerk's office: 241-5645.

The forms are also on the web listed below. Be sure to print all the forms, read the information carefully, and have three copies of each form ready for the clerk when you file your complaint. There is a $10.00 filing fee to file a complaint in Small Claims Court. The North Dakota Attorney General has a helpful brochure on Small claims court titled Small Claims Court.

Small Claims Court forms:
www.court.state.nd.us/court/forms/small/forms.htm.


There are also numerous legal related books on the market and information on the Internet. Students should be cautious in relying on this information as it may not be specific to their particular problem.


Additional Resources

State of North Dakota: http://discovernd.com/

North Dakota Supreme Court: www.court.state.nd.us

North Dakota Attorney General: www.ag.state.nd.us

Federal Trade Commission - Consumer Info: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/consumer.shtm

North Dakota Century Code: www.legis.nd.gov/information/statutes/cent-code.html

Code of Federal Regulations: www.gpoaccess.gov/ecfr

Federal Register: www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/index.html

United States Code: http://uscode.house.gov

Cornell Law Library: www.law.cornell.edu

Department of Education: www.ed.gov

FindLaw: www.findlaw.com

City of Fargo: http://ci.fargo.nd.us

Fargo Police: www.ci.fargo.nd.us/Police


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Last Updated: Tuesday, June 16, 2009