Information for Parents

Starting a college career is an exciting time, for you and your student. It is also a time full of new experiences and responsibilities, and your student may need some help navigating this unfamiliar territory.

There are many reasons your student may need to come to University of Iowa Student Legal Services (SLS). Bad landlords, consumer fraud, and identity theft can happen to anyone.

Campus life brings with it numerous situations that can give rise to criminal charges. Underage drinking in Iowa is a crime.

Such matters can be overwhelming, and confidential on-campus legal advice and representation can help keep an academic career from being derailed.


Preventive education is an active and substantial part of the office. Our attorneys make large presentations each semester including, Know the Law, Know your Rights, Renting 101, and 10 Rules for Dealing With Police. They also make frequent presentations to student organizations, residence halls and floors, campus offices, and other University of Iowa campus partners. Timely, relevant information is posted on social media (Facebook, Twitter).


  • Free, confidential legal advice is another service that the office provides. We are here to advise and educate students as to their legal rights and responsibilities.

  • Our role as legal advisors is to improve the comfort level of students regarding their legal matters so they can focus on their educational goals.


  • SLS provides in-court representation for students in many areas of criminal and civil law. This protects the students from being at an unfair disadvantage in the court system, as well as saving them valuable time and money. Representation is limited to cases in Johnson County, Iowa. 

Cost Containment

  • The hourly rate charged by local attorneys is around $200. Representation for a criminal charge can run anywhere from $750 - $2,000 for a simple or serious misdemeanor charge that settles without a trial. Hiring a private attorney for a small claims trial would be cost-prohibitive. Once the retainer, fi ling, and service fees are paid it would leave little, if any, left over for the student at the end of the suit.

  • SLS has a flat fee schedule (no hourly rate) so you know what the cost of our services will be up front. Our retainer fee is approximately 20% of that of a private attorney.

Your Role as a Parent

  • Your primary role is to guide your student to our service. It is important for you to understand that a student has a confidential relationship with their attorney, so SLS would not be able to speak with you, the University, or another third party, unless a confidentiality waiver is signed by your student.

  • Parents cannot schedule appointments for their student. The student must do so directly. We cannot give advice over the telephone or by email.