CSUMB’s first Pre-Law Club

Legal studies students collaborate for social change

By Tessa Munson
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Pre-Law Club (PLC) members gather after introductions and establishing goals for the PLC. Photo by Dr. David Reichard.

Calling all Pre-Law students! California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) has a new Pre-Law Club (PLC). Prior to the club, there were only a few resources on campus for Pre-Law students, such as the series of workshops offered in the fall by professor Dr. David Reichard. These informative workshops span once a week for a series of weeks and cover everything from researching law schools, to preparing for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Another resource is the Legal Studies internship. There are two variations of the internship, an independent-style internship offered in the fall, and a more structured one offered in the spring. Although these resources are helpful for Legal Studies students, the new PLC is a community-building resource.

The President of the PLC, Victor Avila, and the Vice President, Alejandro Roman, were troubled by the fact that CSUMB lacked a space for Legal Studies students to come together and collaborate in regards to learning about the law, the LSAT, and law schools. With help from Humanities & Communication Director and Law professor, Dr. David Reichard, Avila and Roman established the campus’s first PLC.

According to Avila, the purpose of the PLC is to “…provide outreach and resources to students interested and potentially considering a legal career or law school, and connect them with their legal community both within and outside of the university.” The theme of the meeting was “community.” Avila and Roman placed great emphasis on their decision to utilize “The Socratic” method within the board of the club, in which board members work with their community (the club members) in order to take action and create social change.

The first PLC meeting was on Friday, Feb. 23 in room 120 at Heron Hall from 10am-12pm. The musical talents Allen Manelli, a Peace Studies student, added an extra rhythm to the meeting, as the 20 new members of the PLC trickled in. Manelli is not a Pre-Law student, but he offered to come to the club’s first meeting to play his acoustic guitar. Avila pointed out that this is just one way that students from different disciplines influence one another, and collaborate for mutual benefit.

The PLC’s first guest speakers were Dr. David Reichard, Wendy LaRiviere, Assistant Dean of Admissions at the Monterey College of Law and Elizabeth Gonzalez, Outreach Coordinator at the United Farm Workers Foundation. More guests with experience in law are expected to speak at future meetings.

Though much of the PLC’s details have been worked out by Avila and Roman, there is more to expect from the club in the future. Given the different variations of law, there will be an implementation of subcategories to the PLC, such as: Environmental Law, Business Law, Criminal Law and Corporate Law.

Avila provides advice for students considering starting a new club on campus. “Starting a club on campus is highly demanding and the maintenance? Rigorous. From completing a comprehensive Constitution, forming an executive board, connecting to legal entities, contacting law schools, advertising, creating t-shirts and everything in between—the creation of such a club can be a formidable task. But as the President/Founder of the CSUMB Pre-Law Club, I will act as a stem cell to the organization, ensuring that any uncompleted requirement or task be fulfilled and finalized to the best of my ability. It is what we, as a student organization, make of it.”

Both Avila and Roman are fourth-year students, and will be graduating this semester. This means that their positions within the club will need to be filled by the Fall 2018 semester. The two are keeping their eyes peeled for the candidates with the most dedication to the club, so they can takeover their spots.

If you are interested in the PLC, please visit their Facebook page.

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