EMU Legal Resource Center marks 15th anniversary

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 September 2004.

Since then, it has become a nationally recognized, collaborative effort with the county, providing legal expertise to members of the community in family and probate law, landlord-tenant disputes and small claims matters.

“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.

Yates said 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 center does not provide help with appeals or criminal matters. Assistance is free to all patrons.

“Every year, thousands of people struggle to navigate the court system on their own,” Yates said.

The agency, according to Yates, “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 to Jan. 1 during the Fall 2019 semester.

Additional information about the center and its services can be obtained by calling 734.994.0160.