National Student Legal Services, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. Our members are attorneys and legal professionals who currently or previously worked at Student Legal Service offices on campuses and universities across the United States.
Founded in 1980, NSLS was created to support student legal services offices throughout the country on many different college campuses.
The purpose of the National Student Legal Services organization is:
To encourage communication dealing with common interests, problems, and goals affecting college and university students' legal rights;
To support state and national legislative activities that would aid in improving college and university student's legal rights;
To provide Continuing Legal Education and other related educational programming for attorneys and other employees that work with Student Legal Services Offices;
To improve the administration and delivery of Student Legal Services programs;
To seek recognition that college and university legal assistance programs are a legitimate educational function that can and should be financed through public and private funds; and
To recognize that the client population has the right to determine the scope and type of legal services, provided that they are consistent with the American Bar Associations' and other local states' Codes of Professional Responsibility.
The first Student Legal Services programs began in Illinois and at UC Berkeley. Many programs came about in response to the Vietnam era protests that were taking place on many college campuses. Additionally, with the passage of the 26th Amendment to the US Constitution in 1972, the age of majority was reduced from 21 to 18. This meant that students were now legally of age to enter contracts, have a public criminal record, apply for credit cards, and more.
Suddenly students were exposed to legal consequences that previously did not exist. Many college campuses soon saw a need for students to also have legal representation, and thus the first Student Legal Services offices opened, and more programs expanded across the country. NSLS soon followed as the attorneys in the various offices needed an organization of resources and support to further their missions and values.
The first meeting to discuss a national organization was held in 1979 in Las Vegas, NV. NSLS has held an annual conference each year since formation, except for the postponement in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
University of Minnesota
North Carolina State University
The University of Kansas
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill