Increasing the Law Student Division’s visibility to students at American Bar Association (ABA) schools is one of the goals that the new officers have for their tenure.
Tremaine Reese, chair; Lauren Acquaviva, vice chair; Will Binkley, secretary-treasurer; and Brandon Smith, representative to the ABA Board of Governors were elected to their positions by the circuit governors in Las Vegas at the Spring Board of Governors meeting in March. They were sworn in at the ABA Annual Meeting in Toronto in August.
A 3L at Florida A&M University College of Law and native of Gordeon, Georgia, Reese brings a wealth of knowledge to the position. He has experience in management, budgeting, and business analysis. As the manager for the Atlanta Department of Watershed Management, Reese had a hand in creating legislation for Atlanta. He also led both long- and short-term strategic planning for Reese Business Consulting, a company he owned.
“I am convinced that my previous experience in the private and public sector in management roles will help me guide, understand, and lead the Law Student Division for the next year,” Reese says. “It is a known principal that effective leaders are those that are able to communicate, understand, and work directly with those individuals who are part of their team.”
“It certainly will be my mission to follow the team approach because this year is not just about me—it’s about law students all across this nation.”
Reese also says he currently sees the Division in a solid position.
“We are definitely headed in the right direction with a positive outlook and a great reputation to build upon,” he says. “I see us, this year, continuing that momentum and taking the Division to the next level to where we are reaching out to more institutions and to more students from a diversity standpoint.”
Vice Chair Acquaviva, from Holmdel, New Jersey, is a 3L at the University of South Carolina School of Law.
During her term, one of her goals is to increase membership and ABA presence at law schools, especially at schools with low membership. She also has goals of revising the ABA representative handbook to make that job easier and to let members know about the wide range of benefits of Division membership.
“We’re focusing on retention,” Acquaviva says. “So, in order to retain members, they need to get something, and they need to know what they’re getting.”
Acquaviva also said she wants to spread the word that membership comes with more than tangible, financial benefits and discounts. Additionally, she says she would consider her term as vice chair a success if more schools were able to improve the number of students who join the Division.
“If the schools in each circuit that have low membership numbers increase their numbers, that would be a major plus,” she says.
The new secretary-treasurer is Memphis-native Will Binkley, a 3L at Mississippi College School of Law. One of his primary goals is to increase transparency so members can see where their dues are going and what they fund. He says increased fiscal transparency led to high Student Bar Association membership at his law school. He says he hopes that will also happen for the Law Student Division.
The students should know where their dues are going,” he says. “Hopefully, by students seeing where their dues are going and being more vocal to the SBA presidents and the [circuit] governors, it will trickle down to the members at the law schools and they’ll run for governor and positions at their law schools.”
As the new representative to the ABA Board of Governors, Brandon Smith is the voice of the Division on the ABA Board. A 3L at the University of South Carolina School of Law, Smith says cultivating and maintaining a relationship between the ABA Board and the Division can help both groups work together better. Another of his goals is to push for greater membership and more benefits for members. However, Smith’s primary objective is to create a strong and deep connection between the Division and the ABA Board of Governors.
“Connectivity between the ABA Board of Governors and the Law Student Division is critical,” Smith says. “That connection serves as a catalyst for so much. Fostering that is goal number one.”