MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A new partnership between two of the Mountain State’s most prestigious universities intends to inform the public on consumer law.

That’s what the new Center for Consumer Law and Education plans to be as a partnership between West Virginia University and Marshall University. The new center, which will have bases at both WVU and Marshall, intends to serve as a principal resource for consumer law, policy, education and support.

Jonathan Marshall, who is directing WVU’s part of the CCLE, says it’s intended for anyone in the state who seeks the information.

“To provide consumers, to provide policy makers, to provide — even students — opportunities that they normally wouldn’t have,” Marshall said on WAJR’s “The Gary Bowden Show.”

The CCLE will include many services that will range in various aspects of consumer law. According to Marshall, WVU will be specializing in all aspects of consumer law. This would include offering consultation on various consumer legal issues — ranging from solving student debt to understanding leases involving rental properties.

“One of the very first things we’re going to be doing is provide a resource that will allow consumers, if they’ve got a problem, to go identify where they can get the help that best suits the problem they have,” said Marshall.

The center is not only a one of a kind entity for the state, but across the country as well. Not only is it a partnership between universities, a rarity in the educational world, but it’s also one of the few parternerships of this design across the eastern United States. What makes this possible, according to Marshall, is the unique strengths both WVU and Marshall have at their respective institutions allowing for the partnership to become easier. Marshall said that it could become a real economic driver for the state.

“The competitive advantage, the real thing that makes this center unique, nationally, is the fact is that of this partnership,” he said. ” The fact that we can take a multi-disciplinary approach to problems.”

As of this writing, both Marshall and WVU have held official launches at both their campuses. A website for the CCLE is also expected to be up and running in the near future. Even though it is still in it’s early stages, the CCLE hopes to establish scholarships and begin resarch on consumer law and policy, which Marshall says would be a great start for the center.

“We’re going to have fellowships available for faculty members, we’re going to have our shcolarships available to our students by the middle of next year so as far as I am concerned, we are off and running,” he said.

The donations to Marshall and WVU to establish the CCLE were spearheaded by consumer attorney and Clarksburg native David Romano.

Story by Joe Nelson

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