‘People’s Law School’ at UHLC teaches ‘students’ about their rights

UHLC Professor Emeritus Richard Alderman, founder of the Center for Consumer Law, kicks off the 2015 Spring People's Law School on April 4.

April 10, 2015 - Several hundred people spent Saturday morning at the University of Houston Law Center recently to learn about such things as landlord/tenant relationships, tax law, and the ramifications of the Affordable Care Act in the latest session of “The People’s Law School.”

The twice-yearly, free event hosted by UHLC’s Center for Consumer Law on April 4, was created by the center’s founder, Professor Richard M. Alderman, who retired last year after teaching at UHLC since 1973. Although retired from full-time teaching, Alderman continues to direct the center and “The People’s Law School,” the oldest and most successful law program for the lay person in the nation.

After enjoying a light breakfast of coffee and donuts on the law school’s plaza while signing in, the “students” assembled in Krost Hall for a welcome by Alderman.

“This is not an academic exercise,” he told them. Rather, he said, the People’s Law School would provide them with practical knowledge and advice on how to deal with day-to-day legal matters.

Classes included business law, tax, employment, health insurance, consumer law, credit and debt collection, wills and estates, family law, insurance law, landlord tenant law, justice court, social security, and how to deal with an attorney, as well as a course on how to find the law on the Internet.

“The latest session of The People’s Law School was a great success,” Alderman said. “It took some adjustments to deal with the fact that I was not present for the weeks leading up to the program and no longer appearing in the local media.”

For several decades, Alderman promoted the event during his regular appearances on Houston television news outlets and radio stations, and in his weekly column, “Know Your Rights!” which he continues to write for 20 newspapers.

“Still, we had a great crowd and from the many comments I received, everyone understood the importance of knowing their legal rights and appreciates the opportunity to learn.”

“Students” clearly enjoyed the day’s classes.

Medinah al-Beshr, who works in medical eligibility for a local hospital, came specifically to learn about employment and tax law.

“I thought they were wonderful,” al-Beshr, a first-time attendee, said of the classes. “I learned so much, I really did. I’m glad I came.”

Ron Jordan, who recently retired from the engineering and construction field, said he was most interested in classes covering Social Security, wills, and general business law.

“For me, it was excellent. I had gone to law school before, and didn’t complete, so I picked up some of the courses I wanted more information on,” said Jordan, another first-timer.

Houston attorney Jessie Campbell teaches a class on tax law during the Spring 2015 People's Law School.

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