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Frequently Asked Questions

What do I do if I receive a Subpoena?

A subpoena is a legally authorized document that requires an individual’s appearance in court and/or the production of records and may be issued in a criminal case or civil lawsuit.

UTA Related Subpoenas

If you receive a subpoena in your capacity as a UTA employee, UTA’s Office of Legal Affairs needs to see the subpoena immediately. There are strict legal deadlines for responding to subpoena’s and UTA could be penalized for failing to timely respond. Typically, UTA related subpoenas are for the production of documents such as student records, departmental documents, or research related work. If you are unsure whether your subpoena is UTA related, please err on the side of caution and forward it to UTA’s Office of Legal Affairs for review.  You may forward the documents either by hand delivery to Suite 246, University Administration Building or scan and email them to publicrecords@uta.edu

Personal Subpoenas

If you receive a subpoena in your personal capacity, UTA does not need to see your subpoena and the Office of Legal Affairs does not provide legal advice on personal matters. Typically, someone receives a subpoena in their personal capacity because they are a witness to a crime or civil dispute. If you have questions about why you are receiving the subpoena, you should contact the attorney who issued the subpoena. There are state and federal rules that govern the proper issuance and service of subpoenas. If you desire to challenge the subpoena, you should seek legal advice from a private lawyer. Do not ignore the subpoena as you could face legal consequences such as being held in contempt of court and fined.

I am a UTA student; will the Office of Legal Affairs represent me in a legal matter?

The Office of Legal Affairs represents the University of Texas at Arlington. The Office of Legal Affairs does not represent students.  If you are a UTA student and you are in need of an attorney, below are some resources you may find helpful.

TexasLawHelp

This is an online service that provides free legal information and court forms for simple civil legal problems. Please visit their website for more information: https://texaslawhelp.org/. 

Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas

This organization provides free legal services to low income residents across the State of Texas and has a local office in Fort Worth. You must meet the eligibility guidelines to qualify. To learn more and see if you qualify for assistance, please visit their website: https://internet.lanwt.org/locations/fortworth. 

Tarrant County Bar Association Lawyer Referral & Information Service

This service provides contact information for an attorney near you who practices law in your area of need.  That attorney will then provide you with a one-half-hour consultation for $20.00.  Please see the website for more information: https://tarrantbar.org/community/lawyer-referral-information-service/. 

Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program

This service provides free civil law legal help to low-income people in Dallas County, Texas, including family, housing, consumer law issues and more. To learn more and see if you qualify for assistance, please visit their website: http://dallasvolunteerattorneyprogram.org/

Texas Legal Services Center

This service offers free assistance across Texas in various areas of law, such as crime victims, family, veterans’ assistance, and probate. To learn more and see if you qualify for assistance, please visit their website: https://www.tlsc.org/legal-aid-programs

I am a UTA employee; will the Office of Legal Affairs represent me in a personal legal matter?

The Office of Legal Affairs represents the University of Texas at Arlington and will always act in the best interest of the University, this includes advising employees acting within the scope of their employment as long as those actions are not adverse to the interests of the University. The Office of Legal Affairs does not represent UTA employees in personal legal matters.  If you are a UTA employee and in need of an attorney, below are some resources you may find helpful.

TexasLawHelp

This is an online service that provides free legal information and court forms for simple civil legal problems. Please visit their website for more information: https://texaslawhelp.org/ 

Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas

This organization provides free legal services to low income residents across the State of Texas and has a local office in Fort Worth. You must meet the eligibility guidelines to qualify. To learn more and see if you qualify for assistance, please visit their website: https://internet.lanwt.org/locations/fortworth. 

Tarrant County Bar Association Lawyer Referral & Information Service

This service provides contact information for an attorney near you who practices law in your area of need.  That attorney will then provide you with a one-half-hour consultation for $20.00.  Please see the website for more information: https://tarrantbar.org/community/lawyer-referral-information-service/. 

Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program

This service provides free civil law legal help to low-income people in Dallas County, Texas, including family, housing, consumer law issues and more. To learn more and see if you qualify for assistance, please visit their website: http://dallasvolunteerattorneyprogram.org/

Texas Legal Services Center

This service offers free assistance across Texas in various areas of law, such as crime victims, family, veterans’ assistance, and probate. To learn more and see if you qualify for assistance, please visit their website: https://www.tlsc.org/legal-aid-programs.  

I need legal advice in my capacity as a UTA employee, how do I ask?

If you need help with a contracting or transactional issue, please click on the Contracts tab on our website for more information. If you have another type of issue and you do not see it addressed on our website, please feel free to call Jenny Kimball, Paralegal, and she will pass your message on to the appropriate attorney to return your call.  Or, you may email one of the attorneys listed on the Contacts page. Your email will be directed to the right person to contact you.

How does the Attorney Client Privilege apply at UTA?

The attorney client privilege is a rule of evidence that protects confidential information learned by an attorney during client representation

Confidential information is information that is not meant to be disclosed to others beyond the attorney and client. If others are included in the communication the privilege may be waived. It is especially important to remember this when emailing UTA’s attorneys.  If you are including several people on the email, you could be waiving the privilege.  It is very important that if you are seeking legal advice via email, that you not forward an attorney’s email response unless you have specific permission to do so.  Also be aware that if you are in a meeting with several UTA employees and a UTA attorney happens to be present in that meeting, you should not seek legal advice on a specific issue unless it is a topic applicable to all those present, or again, you may be waiving the privilege. 

During client representation means while an attorney is acting in a legal services role.  For example, an employee telling an attorney he wishes another employee would be fired while he and the attorney are walking to their cars is not a confidential communication made while the attorney is providing legal services to UTA and is not privileged.  However, an email or phone call to an attorney asking for legal advice on a human resources matter within the employee’s department triggers an attorney’s representation of the client. Another example would be asking an attorney’s opinion on the purchase of a particular software or say a piece of property.  The discussion is not privileged because the attorney is providing business advice and not legal advice.

In conclusion, an attorney’s mere presence does not create privilege and every communication is not protected. Be mindful of your confidential communications to ensure you are properly protecting them.

What information is protected by FERPA?

See this page for information on FERPA:https://www.uta.edu/records/faculty-staff/ferpa.php

What are my free speech rights as a UTA employee?

As a public institution of higher education in Texas, UTA is a public entity and its employees, including faculty members, are public employees.  “When public employees make statements pursuant to their official duties, they are not speaking as citizens for First Amendment purposes, and the Constitution does not insulate their communications from employer discipline.” Garcetti v. Ceballos, 547 U.S. 410, 421 (2006). The reasoning behind the Court’s holding is that “restricting speech that owes its existence to a public employee’s professional responsibilities does not infringe any liberties the employee might have enjoyed as a private citizen. Id. at 421-422.  It simply reflects the exercise of employer control over what the employer itself has commissioned or created. Id.  The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) summarized Garcetti’s impact on faculty in a publication entitled “Protecting an Independent Faculty Voice: Academic Freedom after Garcetti v. Ceballos,” which can be found here.  UTA strongly supports academic freedom in the classroom and in scholarship and research, which is reflected in several of its policies, including Policy AA-FPT-PO2, Tenure.

Can I sign a contract for my Department?

Please visit the Office of Legal Affairs’ Contracts page here:https://www.uta.edu/legalaffairs/contracts1/index.php

A Student or Colleague reported inappropriate sexual behavior at UTA to me, what do I do?

Please visit the Title IX reporting page here:https://www.uta.edu/titleix/report/index.php