Students might soon have the opportunity to hire legal counsel for cases of disciplinary misconduct tried by the honor system — but one law firm already advertises help in some cases.
Chapel Hill’s Everett Law Firm now publicizes legal counsel on its website to students who have criminal cases that are being processed by both court systems.
Scott Eren, an attorney at the firm, said the firm wants to help students with how they present themselves.
“Students can think it is a safe context to try to explain themselves, but the Honor Court can turn that information into the police, and the person is basically self-incriminating themselves,” he said. “There is no privilege of confidence.”
House Bill 843, filed earlier this month, would give students the right to hire a professional lawyer for honor system cases.
Under the current system, students can only be represented by fellow students in cases that appear before the Honor Court.
Students can hire legal counsel when their case is being processed in both the criminal and honor systems simultaneously. But those lawyers can only advise students — they cannot address the panel or speak.
Eren said the bill would help students with their honor system proceedings.
“Sometimes students feel misrepresented by the University, and they want (legal) recourse,” he said. “The bill is designed to help them have an attorney before they get to that serious of a step.”