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SA/PPS 01.02 - Responsibilities of the Attorney for Students Office

Responsibilities of the Attorney for Students Office

SA/PPS No. 01.02 (01.02)
Issue No. 7
Effective Date: 2/17/2020
Next Review Date: 5/01/2023 (E3Y)
Sr. Reviewer: Attorney for Students

  1. POLICY STATEMENTS

    1. The Student Affairs Division is committed to the recruitment and retention of a heterogeneous and qualified student body and to providing services that enhance their personal development and contribute to the fulfillment of their goals. The following procedures contribute to the implementation of this policy.

    2. The purpose of this document is to set forth the responsibilities and limitations of Attorney for Students (AFS) staff at Texas State University. The delineation of these duties enables AFS staff to perform their functions more efficiently and will enable students at Texas State to make the best possible use of all legal services provided.

    3. Specific objectives of this document include:

      1. to explain the role and function of AFS staff;

      2. to set forth limitations on the activities of AFS staff to conform with policy set forth by The Texas State University System (TSUS) Board of Regents; and

      3. to set forth the qualifications of AFS staff.

  2. RESPONSIBILITIES AND LIMITATIONS

    1. The primary responsibilities of AFS staff are:

      1. to provide limited scope representation, advise students of standard legal procedures and of their rights and responsibilities under the law, analyze legal issues and defenses, prepare students for pro se litigation, and to effectively communicate with adverse parties;

      2. to prepare and present programs regarding legal matters that are beneficial to Texas State students;

      3. to perform legal research in order to deliver accurate legal advice to students;

      4. to educate students on how to self-advocate when practical and recommend retention of outside legal counsel when deemed advisable;

      5. to consult with university personnel, including but not limited to, the University Police Department, the assistant dean of Student Conduct and Community Standards, the dean of Students, and all other appropriate university officials concerning university rules and regulations and issues that affect students;

      6. to keep a record of the activities of the AFS office. The university recognizes the privileged attorney-client relationship that exists between AFS staff and those individuals with whom they counsel. In order to render general reports of services when called upon, AFS staff will compile and maintain accurate and efficient records, which will not jeopardize attorney-client privilege. Specifically, AFS staff should keep records of the number of students counseled, the most common types of legal issues encountered, and such other records deemed necessary;

      7. to counsel students on how to resolve disputes by mediation and negotiation when, in the professional opinion of AFS staff, it could lead to the circumvention of litigation; and

      8. to refer students to, and consult with, the university ombudsperson as needed.

    2. AFS staff has no responsibility:

      1. to file court documents, maintain actions, enter as attorney of record or represent students in civil, immigration, or criminal litigation or in hearings before university boards and committees;

      2. to prepare legal instruments or documents for students;

      3. to prepare and mail demand letters to persons against whom students feel aggrieved or contact such persons by telephone or in person in a role as an attorney for the student. AFS staff may however, contact other persons, with client permission when necessary, in order to clarify a student’s problem or to obtain a full understanding of the issues involved;

      4. to advise students on other matters that require extensive specialization or time; or

      5. to keep or maintain client case related files, records, or documents.

    3. AFS staff are not required to render legal services to persons other than students currently enrolled at the university. AFS staff may, within their discretion and as time allows when requested, render legal advice to students no longer enrolled if it is a legal matter previously counseled on.

    4. AFS staff may acquaint students with all applicable statutes, cases, and university rules and regulations. AFS staff should not advocate, encourage, or maintain any action against Texas State or against other Texas State students.

    5. AFS staff are bound by the ethical considerations and disciplinary rules set forth in the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct promulgated by the Supreme Court of Texas for Texas attorneys and any other legal, ethical, or professional duties of attorneys required by law.

    6. AFS staff are bound by attorney-client privilege, the duty of confidentiality, and the attorney’s oath of office.

    7. AFS staff are Title IX confidential sources that students can discuss a Title IX-related matter with assurance that AFS staff will not reveal the student’s identity or other identifying information. AFS staff are only obligated to report aggregate data regarding the types of incidents.

  3. QUALIFICATIONS

    1. AFS attorneys will be graduates of an American Bar Association-accredited law school, hold a J.D. or LL.M degree, be a licensed member in good standing of the State Bar of Texas, and be a half- or full-time employee of the university.
  4. REVIEWERS OF THIS PPS

    1. Reviewers of this PPS includes the following:

      Position Date
      Attorney for Students May 1 E3Y
      Associate Vice President and Dean of Students May 1 E3Y
  5. CERTIFICATION STATEMENT

    This PPS has been approved by the following individuals in their official capacities and represents Texas State Student Affairs policy and procedure from the date of this document until superseded.

    Attorney for Students; senior reviewer of this PPS

    Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

    Vice President for Student Affairs