Whether it’s a problem with a deadbeat roommate, a ticket for underage drinking or any one of a host of other college-age issues, many students inevitably come into legal questions. One thing they usually don’t have: a lot of money to solve them.
That’s where “Minute With Mike” hopes to come in. The free video campaign, created by USF graduate Dana Blickensderfer, is designed to encourage legal discussion with attorney Michael C. Blickensderfer and launches today at oneminutewithmike.com.
Students can submit their legal questions to Dana’s father, who will provide a video answer on the site every Wednesday. The Oracle talked with Dana Blickensderfer, who graduated in May 2010 with a degree in mass communications, about her idea and how she hopes students could benefit from it.
The Oracle: What kind of cases does Mike Blickensderfer, the lawyer who’ll be answering questions on “Minute With Mike,” usually handle?
Dana Blickensderfer: He has extensive experience in personal injury litigation and claims. He also served as a prosecutor both in Florida and in Long Island. Other areas he served were in narcotics, Medicaid fraud and DUI offenses within New York City. He also served as a public defender, practicing criminal law within the felony division in Tampa, Florida.
Other legal experience includes real estate, family law, criminal defense, social security and labor law.
O: How does “Minute With Mike” work?
DB: Well, every week Michael will receive legal questions through our forum, and from those questions, he will pick ones to discuss and answer on the air through our video channel on (the website).
Every week students can tune into “Minute with Mike” at noon to see if their legal question was answered. Students may even remain anonymous. The videos will even remain archived on the website so students can freely view answers to legal questions at their leisure.
O: What kind of legal issues do college students often deal with?
DB: Criminal charges for example, DUI, underage drinking and substance abuse or (they may) be a victim to a crime. They may be victims to personal injury cases such as car and motorcycle accidents, slips and falls, and alike. Usually the average college student deals with legal contracts, for example, promissory notes on school loans, leasing agreements, car notes, bank accounts, etc. Driving laws are also a common issue that may not be understood, and here we offer a chance to educate students for free on these topics.
There are so many instances where an attorney may be beneficial to helping you understand your legal rights as students.
O: Where did the idea for “Minute with Mike” begin, and why did your family firm, Blick Law Firm, want to do it?
DB: We wanted to do this because it makes consulting with an attorney easier for (a student’s) schedule and, well, it’s just more fun. It is great that we can be creative and use social media concepts to create an even better way for students to get free legal consultations.
I want it to be a site where people can feel comfortable enough to ask any legal questions they may be wondering. It is hard when you are a student and you have questions and you do not know who to ask or where to turn to.
O: What kind of difference can professional legal advice make when dealing with problems typically encountered by students?
DB: You go to college to get a better education for a promising future. Unfortunately, on that journey one may make poor choices or find themselves in a situation that may hinder their future goals. An attorney may be able to alleviate the effects of consequences and may offer solutions to a situation that you thought there was no way out (of). Handling things on your own may create more stress and could potentially damage your chances of getting the best outcome possible.
We not only offer this free Q&A format on “Minute with Mike” but also, with a student ID, we offer free consultation in person or over the phone. We really want to help and be available to those in legal need.
O: How has your life changed after graduating from USF?
DB: USF is definitely missed. Being on the outside looking in, I really miss the first week back at school and having a fresh start. The real world has no spring break. But, I am really enjoying the work experience at my job. I am doing what I went to school for, which is very exciting.
I think the biggest challenge is the freedom. The world is your oyster and you can go down any road you want. The tough part is deciding what to do with life after college. I love what I do, but definitely do not know where it will lead. It is exciting and scary at the same time. Heck, I might go back to get my master’s in a few years.