Officially Speaking

Vol. 40 No. 7

By

Michelle A. Philo, Whittier Law School, is the Vice Chair SBA of the ABA Law Student Division.

Recognizing the Role of the SBA

Student Bar Associations (SBAs) continue to be the strongest advocates of the student voice. In working with your SBA presidents, I have been thoroughly impressed with the way they have addressed student concerns and have eloquently expressed them to their administrations. Additionally, they have forwarded to my attention those concerns that are common to students nationwide. In response, the ABA Law Student Division has responded and is actively engaging in a revitalization plan that better serves the modern-day law student.

Getting your SBA involved with the ABA. SBAs that encourage ABA involvement get the most from their ABA memberships. The schools that have ABA student organizations or their ABA representative as a voting member of their SBA board typically are more involved in ABA opportunities. These opportunities include networking with local attorneys, attending complimentary speaking engagements, and volunteering for various gatherings or committees. If your SBA is interested in developing an ABA student organization or having your ABA representative as a voting member of your SBA board, do not hesitate to contact me for sample bylaws.

Recognition awards. Every year the ABA Law Student Division accepts nominations for awards in the following categories: Student Bar Association, Diversity, Public Interest, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, Membership Activity, and Law School Newspaper. Recognize your school for doing exemplary work in one of these categories. Simply download an application and submit it prior to the April 1 deadline. The award recipients will be recognized at the ABA Annual Meeting in August in Chicago.

Special thanks. As the academic year is coming to an end, take a moment to thank your SBA president. Most students do not see the hours of work that their SBA presidents put in. From participating in faculty meetings, meeting with deans and administrators, responding to countless e-mails, working on SBA programming over winter and spring break, and serving as the chair of your SBA board, they are often working late into the evenings and on the weekends to make sure your voice does not go unheard. Many SBA presidents manage to do this while managing the same rigorous academic schedule you do, and they often participating in numerous other activities on campus as well. Stop your SBA president in the hall or drop a quick e-mail stating his or her work is much appreciated.

A special thank you goes to my own SBA board and all the students at Whittier Law School. Your continuing support has been relentless. I’m grateful for being able to serve you.

 

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