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Feb. 19, 2003

Press Contact:
Laura Castro, UT Law Communications, (512) 232-1229
Jill Coody Smits, Travis County Bar Association, 472-0279

Event: People's Law School Offers Public Free Legal Education

WHAT: 9th Annual People's Law School
WHERE: The University of Texas School of Law
WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 22, 8:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.
COST: Free and Open to the Public

Attorney Ahmad Keshavarz teaches
a consumer law class at
People's Law School last year.

AUSTIN, Texas – Members of the Travis County Bar Association (TCBA), many of whom are UT Law alumni, will educate the community about common legal issues at the 9th Annual People's Law School on Saturday, Feb. 22 at UT Law. The event is free and open to the public.

Courses will cover a wide variety of common legal issues including Child Custody and Divorce, Small Business Law, Landlord/ Tenant Rights, Personal Bankruptcy, Identity Theft, Wills and Estate Planning, and Government Benefits for Seniors. Participants may register for up to three classes. Each class will last one hour and 15 minutes with a question and answer period at the end of each class. Attendees who want to learn how to use the Tarlton Law Library for legal research can take guided tours at noon and 1:30 p.m.

This year, the event offers several new classes including Legal Primers for Writers, Film Industry Professionals, and Musicians (Entertainment Law Series "How to Protect Your Art"); Health Insurance ("Doctor, Drugs and HMOs"- Fighting denials of health coverage), and Homeowner's Insurance ("What If My House Has Mold?" - Your rights in dealing with your insurer). And some classes, such as the Small Business Law Series and Employment Law Series, have been changed to cover topics not addressed in previous years.

"The law affects many aspects of people's lives and the purpose of the 9th Annual People's Law School is to make general legal information more accessible to the community," said Austin attorney Elizabeth Colvin, a 1996 graduate of UT Law and one of three co-chairs of the event. The others are Austin attorneys Austin Tighe and Catherine Benouis-Kucera. "The People's Law School teaches people how to help themselves, when they might need the help of an attorney, when their rights have been violated and when they haven't been," Colvin said, emphasizing that attorneys do not provide individual legal advice at the event. "However, the event provides the public with an opportunity to learn the basics about common legal issues that impact our lives," she added.

UT Law students -including 20 to 30 members of the Student Bar Association-will volunteer at the event, serving as classroom assistants to the attorneys teaching the class, providing directions to participants and answering questions about the Law School. Many UT Law alumni are coordinating and speaking at People's Law School. They include Julie Alexander (Family Law); Susan Arenella and Paul Skeith (Small Business Law); Ahmad Keshavarz (Consumer Law); and Phil Durst, (Employment Law). Click on People's Law School Speakers for a complete list of attorneys teaching the courses.

Advance registration is encouraged, as class sizes are limited. However, same-day registration is allowed. For a complete course listing and registration brochure, visit or call 472-0279.

Close to 3,000 people have attended the event since it was started in 1995 by the Travis Country Bar Association, a non-profit voluntary association representing 3,7000 attorneys in the Austin area.

People’s Law School Speakers

Speakers are practicing attorneys and members of the Travis County Bar Association.

Family Law Series: 
     Divorce: Julie Alexander
     Custody/Support:  Julie Alexander
     Grandparents Rights:  Christopher Merritt

Consumer Law Series:  Ahmad Keshevarz

Small Business Series:  Susan Arenella & Paul Skeith

Employment Law Series: 
     Hiring & Firing:  Phil Durst
     Discrimination:  Lynn Carter
     Compensation:  Judy Osborne

Entertainment Law Series:
     Writers:  Arenella & Skeith
     Film:  Mike Saleman
     Musicians:  Mike Tolleson

Elder Law Series:
     Guardianship:  Arie Solis
     Scams Against the Elderly:  Esther Chavez
     Governmental Benefits:  Marilyn Miller

Health Insurance:  Charles Sanders

Mediation:  Mark Sims

Personal Bankruptcy:  Liz Hickson

Wills & Estate Planning:  Walker Arenson

Landlord/Tenant:  Bruce Rodenborn

Public Information Access:  Amanda Crawford

Special Education:  Richard LaVallo

Homeowner’s Rights:  Chris Elliot