Student Legal Advice Services

The Graduate Council provides attorney office hours to eligible, full-time graduate and professional students in the University of Chicago for advice and consultation regarding legal matters and to make referrals for students who seek legal representation. Olivia Long, JD’09, will provide office hours through Graduate Council at no additional charge to students.

The attorney is able to advise students on a wide variety legal issues, see below for a list of common topics. The attorney will not consult on issues relating to the University of Chicago; other University of Chicago students, faculty, staff, other academic appointees, or postdoctoral researchers; or University of Chicago student organizations. Title IX issues will not be handled by the attorney and should be directed to the Office for Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Support.  Immigration-related matters should be directed to the University’s Office of International Affairs. At her discretion, the attorney may decline to provide legal consultation due to a conflict of interest.


All currently enrolled, full-time University of Chicago graduate and professional students who pay the Student Services Fee as part of their registration status are eligible to receive legal consultation. Graduate Council is funded in part through the Student Services Fee. Students enrolled full-time, but not charged the Student Services Fee are not eligible. Students are eligible for one thirty-minute appointment per legal issue, as the attorney’s time allows.


  • Office Hours will be held at UChicagoGRAD on the third floor of the University Bookstore at 970 E 58th St, Chicago, IL 60637

  • Office Hours will be 10:30 AM – 2:30 PM on the second Monday and third Thursday of each month

  • Appointments scheduled in advance are highly recommended and can be made online through GRAD Gargoyle

  • The attorney will not do consultations by telephone or via email

Common issues

The following list is a non-exclusive list of legal issues addressed by the attorney. The attorney will not consult on issues relating to the University of Chicago; other University of Chicago students, faculty, staff, other academic appointees, or postdoctoral researchers; or University of Chicago student organizations.

  • Landlord/tenant issues including lease and sublease review

  • Municipal ordinance violations

  • False identification matters

  • Criminal issues

  • Credit and debt issues

  • Contracts

  • Domestic issues

  • Dissolution of marriage

  • Automobile accidents

  • Probate

  • Employment contracts

  • Parking/Traffic violations

  • Litigation

  • Personal injury

  • Business formation

  • Consumer rights issues

NOTE: Communications made between a student client and the attorney will be protected under attorney-client confidentiality rules in accordance with the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct.  If a student’s matter requires further legal assistance, upon request, the attorney can assist the student in locating an attorney suitable to the student’s needs.

Graduate Council Fall 2019 Welcome

Who we are: Graduate Council (GC) is the representative student government for graduate students at UChicago. Each year, grad students contribute money to student activities through the Graduate Student Services Fee, and this year GC is charged with responsibly distributing $510k of those funds. GC is comprised of an executive team that carries out the Council’s initiatives and funding decisions, and 33 representatives from all 12 of UChicago’s graduate schools and divisions that solicit feedback, bring student issues to the Council, and raise awareness about our initiatives. All GC meetings are open to students – the dates of the meetings this year will be available on our website:

What we do: We operate a number of funding bodies, work toward building a strong graduate community through GC initiatives, and bring student issues to the university administration to consider actionable ways to improve graduate student life.

What’s new: Graduate Council will launch a pilot Student Legal Advice Services program in Fall Quarter. At no additional cost to students, GC will provide attorney office hours to eligible, full-time graduate students in the University of Chicago for advice and consultation regarding legal matters and to make referrals for students who seek legal representation. Read more about this program here.

Get Involved: You can join Graduate Council and help us build a university-wide graduate community today! Let us know you are interested in becoming a divisional representative, evaluating funding applications, running our events, or working with administrators to improve graduate life. Join us for our first meeting on Monday, October 14 at 5pm.

Stay Connected: Like us on Facebook, join our Community mailing list, and attend our events. If you have any questions or suggestions, please email

Meet the GC Co-Presidents:

Justin Douglas is a 2nd Year Masters Student  in the dual AM/MPP program at SSA and Harris. His academic interests center around understanding how social policies at the federal, state, and local levels impact identity development in marginalized communities. Justin’s involvement in Grad Council started during his first year when he was appointed to the executive board as Diversity Chair where he initiated a  quarterly “Diversity Roundtable” where student leaders meet with top campus administrators to discuss strategies for improving diversity and inclusion at UChicago. In addition to serving as this year’s Co-President, Justin now works as a graduate assistant for the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs at the campus Center for Identity + Inclusion. In his free time, just likes to practice piano and violin, meditate, and spend quality time with friends.


Katrina Maxcy is a 4th year PhD student in the LaBelle Lab in the Biological Sciences Division (BSD), where she studies Regulatory T-cells, specifically designing inhibitors of protein-protein interactions crucial for their function in order to amplify the anti-tumor immune response. During her time on Graduate Council, she has served as Social Chair and Vice President of Community. Outside of lab, Katrina enjoys reading, running marathons and playing the oboe and English Horn.

Get involved in Graduate Council and Nominate your Peers for Graduate Student Leadership Recognition Awards!

Get Involved – Join Graduate Council!

Graduate Council is the representative governing body for the University of Chicago’s 8,000+ graduate students. In 2017-18, the Graduate Council Travel Fund and Finance Committee funded over 350 travel requests and 130 events respectively. In addition to providing financial support, Graduate Council also helped strengthen community by hosting 9 large-scale social events and 40 smaller community events.

In close collaboration with divisional Dean’s Councils, Graduate Council works to advance the graduate experience by programming campus-wide events and hosting platforms for advocacy and issues discussion. The council is comprised of 17 elected representatives from the 12 graduate divisions and a team of committee chairs that focus on particular action arms (social, community, diversity, funding, & marketing).

Graduate Council is always looking for motivated graduate students to get involved. Whether you want to help make decisions on funding applications, work on a specific issue, or run full-scale events, Graduate Council has a place for you. Join fellow graduate students in an effort to break down divisional barriers and create a university-wide graduate community.

Graduate Council is currently looking to fill the team for 2019-2020. Want to learn more? Please fill out this interest form here:

Graduate Council’s Graduate Student Leadership Recognition Awards

The Graduate Student Leadership Recognition Awards (G-SLRA) application is now live! The SLRAs are designed to recognize dedicated student leaders that have made significant contributions to improve graduate student life on campus. This year 25 awardees will be selected to each receive a $500 award. Applicants can be self-nominated or nominated by a friend, colleague, or faculty member. We’re excited to hear about all of the great work that our applicants do on campus, and can’t wait to reveal this year’s winners at our awards ceremony at the end of this quarter! You can find the application here.

Graduate Council Co-Presidents Discuss Upcoming Year

Graduate Council (GC) is the representative student government for the University of Chicago’s graduate student population. Made up of two co-presidents, 17 elected divisional representatives, and the Graduate Liaison to the Board of Trustees, GC focuses on building community across the graduate divisions, helping students get the funding they need to further their academic professional pursuits, and working with administrators to improve graduate student life.

In 2017-18, the GC Travel Fund and Finance Committee funded over 350 travel requests and 130 events respectively. In addition to providing financial support, GC also helped strengthen community by hosting 9 large-scale social events and 40 smaller community events.

UChicagoGRAD’s Kalee Schelkopf recently sat down with the 2018-19 co-presidents Jenni Antane and Ryan Duncombe to discuss goals and challenges for the upcoming academic year.

What do you see as some of the important issues facing graduate and professional students at UChicago?

We’ve received a lot of valuable feedback the past few years on what issues students care about, and we hope to address many of these. However, one broad issue facing students that we want to focus on this year is the ability to form connections and collaborations among student groups across campus in a manner independent of RSOs.

Grad Council represents over 8,000 graduate students in 12 distinct divisions, so connections among student groups across the university with shared causes (minorities, student parents, LGBTQ and others) can be difficult to achieve. Improving this ability is something we’re actively working on, and we see this as a way to continue to build UChicago’s graduate community and ensure that all UChicagoans can feel a connection to their fellow students in other divisions.

How do you envision Graduate Council helping to address the concerns of graduate students across the university?

We’ve learned a lot in the past two years about what works and what does not work in supporting, empowering and connecting UChicago’s graduate students. Going forward, we believe that three main areas can continue to be improved:

  • Community building– We’ve received a lot of positive feedback for last year’s Community Initiative, and we aim to continue expanding this program. We’re also continuing to develop Grad Council’s other funding programs (Travel Fund, Academic and Professional Fund, and the Social, Culture and Wellness Fund) to try and more equitably share their resources among divisions, as we’ve received feedback that previous application forms felt more applicable to some divisions compared to others.
  • Participation– To maximize Grad Council’s effectiveness as advocates and representatives of all graduate students, we aim to continue the increase in participation in the council we’ve seen over the past few years. As Grad Council’s various committees become more developed, we’re able to more effectively organize and tailor our efforts to the needs of students university-wide.
  • Online presence– One of our greatest tools for connecting and empowering student communities is our online presence, and it’s something we have a lot of new ideas for. Grad Council recently unveiled an events calendar on our website that we hope will enable students to more effectively take advantage of events going on around campus. We’re also developing a more comprehensive resource list, with the goal being to centralize graduate student groups and resources on Grad Council’s website to maximize its usefulness to the graduate student population.

Finally, we hope to continue our collaboration with UChicagoGRAD and the newly formed Graduate Education Committee, as both of these resources are crucial in helping us maximize our service to UChicago’s graduate students.

What do you anticipate being your biggest challenges?

We need to continue expanding participation in Grad Council to further our goal of addressing the large diversity of needs and concerns expressed by UChicago’s graduate students, and to ensure that we are serving each division fairly. It’s always difficult for graduate students to find time in their busy lives for involvement, so maximizing our effectiveness and flexibility while requiring minimal time commitments from students is a challenge we will have to overcome. However, we are pleased to report that recruiting efforts have gone well and we’re positive that the council will continue to grow, both in size and in capacity.

How can graduate and professional students get involved?

There are several different ways to get involved in Grad Council. People often start by serving on one of our funding or issues committees since they’re a great way to meet people and make an impact with a minimal and flexible time commitment. There are many committees, so it’s easy to find a fit for what you’re interested in – whether it’s social events, travel, or graduate issues.

Another valuable way to get started is to simply come to a meeting! We hold multiple meetings every quarter and they’re a great way to get an overview of everything GC does or to express a concern that you have in your graduate experience. We have an excellent group of talented students working with us and every one of them can help find ways for interested students to get involved in their area of choice. We’re always open to new people, new ideas, and new directions. And as a bonus reason to attend a meeting: food is provided!

We are always eager to hear from graduate students from across the university. Visit our website at or email our exec team at to learn more about how to get involved!

The first Graduate Council meeting of the year will be held on Monday, October 8that 7:30pm in Harper Center, Room C-07. All graduate students are invited to attend. 

Jenni Antane is a PhD candidate in Molecular Engineering entering her third year at the University of Chicago. Her research interests include understanding the generation and maintenance of peripheral immunological tolerance and engineering better immune responses. She graduated with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University where she served as the Outreach Director and then External VP for the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). During her graduate career, she has served as a member of the IME Dean’s Council, has achieved RSO status for the UChicago section of SWE, and has chaired Graduate Council’s Academic and Professional Fund Committee. Her passions outside of lab are cooking (and more importantly eating), exploring cities by walking for hours, and relaxing through yoga.

Ryan Duncombe is a 5th year PhD student in the Adams lab in the Biological Sciences Division (BSD), where he combines biochemical and immunological approaches to investigate fundamental questions of immunological tolerance. During his time with Graduate Council, he has served on a number of committees, including the Social, Culture and Wellness Committee, as GC representative to the Student Government Community Service Fund, and the Graduate Issues Committee. He currently serves as the Biomedical Sciences Representative to the BSD Dean’s Council and is the Student Liaison to the Committee on Immunology, his home committee. Outside of lab, Ryan enjoys spending time outdoors, reading, and playing baseball.