Dean helps people know their rights

The People’s Law School, held by UH’s Center for Consumer Law, aims to simplify the intricate process of the justice system.

The free program is open to the public and provides information about legal rights and the role they play in the daily lives of the public, said Richard Alderman, interim dean of the Law Center.

“About 500 people attend the program each year,” Alderman said. “It is designed to help make the law user friendly to the lay person.”

Alderman, also known as the “People’s Lawyer”, developed the program 25 years ago. It is taught by volunteer judges, lawyers, and law professors and students.

The People’s Law School offers classes in a broad range including finding an attorney, bankruptcy, immigration, business law, landlord/tenant law, small claims, consumer law, family law and wills.

“Ultimately, The People’s Law School will help people save money,” said Associate Director for the Center for Consumer Law Robert Johnson. “Knowing your rights is quite beneficial and empowering. When you know your rights you can better protect yourself.”

Twice a year, people arrive early to mingle and share coffee and donuts. Afterwards the program consists of speaking, presentations and answering legal questions for attendees.

“Everything about the law school is enjoyable,” Johnson said. “From interacting with fellow attorneys to having the satisfaction of providing useful information to the public. The entire experience is positive.”

“The program was designed to give the public ease when it comes to knowing the law and protecting themselves,” Alderman said. “It’s the most fun I have all year, being able to see people appreciate the information provided and use it in there everyday lives.”

Graphics design senior Kenneth Manning said he gets a lot out of the program and recommends students of all majors attend.

“The People’s School provided me with so much knowledge,” Manning said. “The public is blind to useful legal information. I am able to understand more, especially when the lack of knowledge has been used against me in my everyday life.”

Everyone who attends gets a free copy of Dean Alderman’s book, “Know Your Rights.” The book is comprehensive, and covers complex legal topics in an easy-to-understand format.

Attendees must register online during open registration to attend.

“Dean Alderman wouldn’t want it, or ask for it, but he deserves all the credit for the success of his program,” Johnson said. “He devotes his life to helping others. The People’s Law School is just another example of what makes him such a unique person and attorney. We are very lucky to have him at the University of Houston.”

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