New Students’ Association legal aide attorney named

Julie M. Frank

Julie M. Frank

Oops… something broke last night when the party got out of hand and the police were called. Now legal advice is needed from that “new someone.” Luckily, that new someone has been chosen and is ready to help.

Kelly Smidt, an SDSU graduate student, has been chosen as the Students’ Association’s new legal aide attorney.

“Of course I was excited,” Smidt said. “At the same time, I realize this is an important position and hope to do the best job I can.”

A native of Brookings, Smidt’s new responsibilities as legal aide attorney include providing legal advice, not representation, to students and working alongside SA to provide presentations about legal issues to organizations on campus, according to Alex Brown, SA president.

Smidt was chosen from two candidates by SA. Brown said they were looking for a legal aide attorney who could deliver presentations to organizations on campus concerning a variety of legal issues and someone the students would be able to feel comfortable with.

Brown said Smidt’s past experience in the field helped him stand out from the other candidate. He also added that because Smidt is a graduate student, he has a “unique viewpoint.”

Smidt agrees that his status as a graduate student puts him at an advantage because he can better identify with the students and the issues concerning them.

He hopes to help students with legal issues put their focus back on school and help students avoid legal problems all together.

Smidt received a BA from Millikin University in Decatur, Ill. and a juris doctor (a law degree) from the University of South Dakota in Vermillion. He practiced as an attorney for “quite a few years,” and has “a lot of experience working with many people’s legal problems and issues.”

He is currently working on an MA in English and would like to teach someday. He said the legal aide position at SDSU enables him to continue to use his legal skills to help people.

Smidt was hired after Pat Lyons retired as the legal aide this summer. Lyons was SDSU’s first legal aide and held the position for 31 years.

Both Lyons and Brown agree that the legal aid attorney position is important because students are apt to have legal issues and it provides students with the opportunity to obtain legal advice they may not get elsewhere.

“It is a position that allows students to really know their rights,” Brown said.