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The Harvard Graduate Council approved a resolution at a council meeting Monday night to continue a pilot legal aid program launched last fall.

The resolution set aside $5,000 of the HGC’s spring budget to continue funding the program during the upcoming semester.

The legal aid program, which the council launched last September, provides free legal consulting to graduate students at all twelve of Harvard’s graduate schools through volunteer law school students.

Thirty-three students, across a range of races and genders, signed up for legal consulting within the first eight weeks of the program launching. Students using the legal aid program sign up for 30-minute consultation sessions through Calendly. Ten students volunteered to give advice to recipients in the program, including three from Harvard Law School.

During the meeting, members of the Harvard Graduate Council described demand for the program as “overwhelming,” adding that they quickly exhausted the $5,000 budget allocated last semester.

They are now looking to recruit more volunteers and expand the program’s budget, which currently goes entirely towards employing program supervisor Bobby Constantino, an attorney and lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Mark York, a co-chair of the legal aid program, said issues with landlords and tenants were the greatest legal concerns students brought to the program, though students also raised a number of other issues including divorce and and civil lawsuits.

“We had a few random things,” York said. “There was one particular case where a guy I know at HKS was biking to MIT. He was hit by a car.”

“The police report said that he struck the car when actually, if you look at the way the bike was damaged and the fact that he got knocked off and broke his collarbone, it was clear that the car had hit him,” he added.

Though the legal aid pilot program was originally set to run for eight weeks, the HGC now hopes to expand its size and capabilities in the spring. According to York, the program also benefits students at Harvard Law School who are looking for volunteering programs to participate in.

“I believe it’s 80 hours that a law student needs of pro bono volunteering to graduate,” York said. “Fortunately, the state of Massachusetts allows law students in the 2L or 3L year to practice up there under the supervision of an attorney.”

York said the HGC seeks to cement the legal aid program as a permanent function of HLS.

“Our goal is to get this to a steady state,” York said. “We have Harvard Law School right here — we’d like to see a Harvard Law School faculty or someone in the administration there support this program and have it have a permanent home there.”

Sunwoo Lee, a Harvard Law School student, used the program for two different legal issues and had a positive experience.

“I did not think I could get any legal assistance on these issues so it was really helpful to get their help,” Lee wrote in an emailed statement to The Crimson. “I would definitely recommend the program to others.”

—Staff writer Angelina J. Parker can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on X @angelinajparker.

—Staff writer Adina R. Lippman can be reached at [email protected].

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