Saturday, July 2, 2005

A Twenty-Dollar Investment

How many of your students take commercial bar review courses?

Becoming a member of the American Bar Association Law Student Division costs students $20 annually.  ABA LSD members receive tuition discounts of $70 to $100 on PMBR tuition, BarBri scholarship opportunities, and a sizeable list of other attractive benefits including:

  • Annual subscription to Student Lawyer Magazine
  • Subscription to the ABA Journal
  • Health Insurance offered through MEGA Life and Health Insurance Company
  • Hertz Car Rental advantages
  • Discounts on books sold through the ABA bookstore
  • Computer discounts

Student_lawyer_1But from my point of view, early ABA membership helps students develop this essential mindset: as law students, they have entered the domain of professionals.  They are no longer mere "students." They have begun the process of becoming lawyers.

The ABA emphasizes this aspect much more than the few financial incentives, by adopting the slogan, "American Bar Association Law Student Division: Where the Path to a Successful Legal Career Begins."  The ABA encourages students to "Stay ahead in law school and build a network to launch your career..."

How may students "launch" with the assistance of the ABA? Visit the web site and check out the "leadership opportunities," the volunteer programs, career counseling resources, specialty section membership opportunities, access to professional level ABA list serves, intern and clerkship information and opportunities, mentoring programs for disabled students, and professional support for distressed students.   

I encourage students to consider themselves as neophytes in the community of lawyers.  This helps them adapt their frame of reference from collegiate to professional - helps them recognize that thinking (and writing) (and learning) like a college student differs remarkably from thinking, writing and learning as a lawyer - helps them commit to the profundity of the enterprise and develop the passion necessary to achieve their personal best.

Telephone_2Consider this: contact the ABA and ask for enough membership packets to distribute to wunnelles during your Orientation program.  At our school for example, students find these packets (along with Rhode Island Bar Association Student Membership invitations) on their chairs as they enter the school's appellate court for a welcome address by the Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court. The Chief Justice encourages them to join the ABA; the President of the Rhode Island Bar Association welcomes the students and encourages them to join the State Bar.

The ABA Law Student Division phone number is 1-312-988-5624. (djt)

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