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CD-ROM Aids Students in Legal Counsel

Dr. James Gibson, Student Legal Advisor
Dr. James Gibson, Student Legal Advisor, came up with the idea of creating the Electronic Legal Resource Handbook CD-ROM.

In this age of technology, a wide range of information is now available at the touch of a button.

Or the click of a mouse.

Keeping in step with this technology, the Office of Students' Legal and Mediation Services of Sam Houston State University, has recently created a product that provides quick legal information to students via a CD-ROM.

The Electronic Legal Resource Handbook CD-ROM is a new tool that can aid students when it comes to legal terminology, their rights, and laws that pertain to them. In early January, the CD-ROM and SHSU were honored by winning the President's Award for Special Project Excellence at the University Student Legal Services Association (USLSA) southwest regional conference.

Only one university may receive the award out of the 23 universities represented from the western half of the United States in any one year of competition. The award is designed to recognize a single outstanding Students' Legal Services project or event that exceeds the Students' Legal Services normal and customary responsibility. The winning program or project must be a unique and exemplary one that furthers the mission of Students' Legal Services.

This isn't the first time SHSU has been honored by the USLSA. In 1996, the Office of Students' Legal and Mediation Services won the Most Outstanding Students' Legal Services Office award.

Legal CD-ROM
The Electronic Legal Resources Handbook is free to students.

"Only two types of awards are given by the USLSA," explained Student Legal Advisor James Gibson, "and Sam Houston has won both of them."

Headed by Gibson, the Office of Students' Legal and Mediation Services is an educational-based law firm operating on student funds that provides legal counsel to SHSU students.

"We try to provide an educational service to students to help them through their legal problem," explained Gibson. "We also try to give them information with which to help them solve their legal problem. This is one reason for the creation of the CD-ROM."

Gibson's idea for a legal service CD was made a reality with the help of administrative assistant Cary Rasberry, who aided in the design and creation of the disc. The disc gives insight into legal areas of concern for students, such as landlord/tenant protection, family law, consumer issues, insurance, automobile wrecks, and employment law.

Links are also given to other university services and Internet sites that may be of help to students facing legal problems.

The CD-ROM took about three months to create, and now is being mass-produced by Students' Legal Services.

"Each student who visits our office is given a CD, and we have also given them out in the campus mall area," said Gibson. Roughly 3,000 copies have been dispersed, and plans are currently being made to make the CD available for students and parents at upcoming sessions of freshman orientation.

The response to the CD-ROM has been overwhelmingly positive, according to Gibson. More information will be added to the CD-ROM as it becomes available and as laws change.

"SHSU has as fine a level of services for students as any other university, large or small," said Gibson. The prestigious recognition from the USLSA helps reinforce that, while aiding in "putting SHSU on the map."

A certain level of personal service is definitely seen in the office of student legal services and throughout the campus, which Gibson contends is "just one more reason for students to come to SHSU."

The Office of Students' Legal and Mediation Services is located in the North Annex of the Lee Drain Building. Students may also contact them by phone at 936.294.1717 or visit their website at

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SHSU Media Contact: Audrey Wick
January 24, 2002
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