NIU legal eagles not so swift with concerns

When I first came to NIU, I learned about many organizations, programs and services aimed at students.

All you have to do is look at the latest NIU phone book and I’m sure that you will find dozens of programs that you have probably never heard of before. Sometimes students choose to take part in these programs.

But, sometimes you don’t have a choice.

Unfortunately, I found myself in the latter situation.

I was having a dispute with a former landlord, and I needed somewhere to turn.

Enter Students’ Legal Services.

Student legal was one of the services I learned about when I came to NIU. It was my understanding that a portion of my student fees went to this service and that the attorneys were there to help students.

I was mislead.

I originally went to the Student Legal Office in May. I figured that the attorneys there deal with landlord/tenant disputes regularly, so they would know how to help me.

I met with an attorney who seemed very helpful and gave me the impression that there were some standard steps I had to take, and things would run along smoothly. Soon, I thought, I would find myself in court testifying.

According to the attorney, the first step was to file a demand letter, asking for the money I believed was owed to me. That seemed easy enough.

I was then told that if a reply to the demand letter was not received, “we” would proceed from there.

I left the Student Legal Office that day hopeful. It appeared that the attorney was truly interested in my problem and would really try to help me.

Once again, I was mislead.

As cut-and-dry as the process seemed in May, it took countless phone calls from me and almost two full months before the attorney even sent out the demand letter.

But the letter was sent and I was still hopeful. The letter stated that if a reply was not received in seven days, further action would be taken.

Call me crazy, but since I had no indication otherwise, I believed that if there was no reply after seven days, further action would be taken.

Unfortunately, after almost two more months, no action was taken.

At this point I became quite concerned, and I believe that I had every right to be. When I was finally able to be seen in person, I had a lot of questions and I hoped that they would be answered. Unfortunately, the attorney was aloof, condescending and rude.

I left the office that day with a great feeling of disappointment. It didn’t seem that the attorney had my best interests in mind.

Now don’t get me wrong. I understand that the Student Legal Office probably has more cases than they can deal with. But if this is the case, I simply wish that I would have been told that results would take a while.

As for the rudeness I had to endure, I seriously hope that my treatment was the exception to the rule. Either way, I think that it’s important for these attorneys to remember why they’re here.