Law Student Division Round-up

Law Student Division Round-up

University of Kansas School of Law
Ashley Akers, President


The 2015-2016 goals of the KU School of Law’s FBA Student Division are to provide networking opportunities, practical skills experiences and informational training to all Division members. As the Division begins its third year as part of the FBA, our membership is at an all-time high of over 70 students. We elected five board members and three first-year student representatives. The Division established three committees with more than 25 members who volunteered to serve the Division.

The Division has many events planned this year that will provide members with memorable opportunities. First, the Division is taking a trip to spend the afternoon at the Kansas District Courthouse that holds eight federal magistrate and district court judges. The event will begin with a tour of the courthouse and a behind the scenes look into judicial chambers. After the tours, District Court Judge Carlos Murguia will speak about his experiences on the bench and the benefits of his membership in the FBA. Then, the members will proceed to have lunch with a group of federal law clerks and learn about each law clerk’s experiences and job duties.

Following the courthouse visit, the Division will host two practical skills seminars. First, federal law clerks will come to KU Law and present a law clerk writing seminar. FBA Members interested in clerking will have the opportunity to learn tips about writing and tricks to have a successful clerkship experience. The second seminar is an overview and informational session about how to apply for clerkships, how to draft a cover letter and resume, and information about the clerkship hiring timeline.

The social event of the year will come in the spring semester as the Division hosts federal judges and law clerks at KU Law for an evening of networking, learning and fun. Last year, seven federal judges and a handful of law clerks and practitioners joined FBA members for an evening of appetizers, drinks and conversation. This year, the Division anticipates doubling the attendees, judges and law clerks for another great night at KU Law.

Another wonderful networking opportunity is provided for members in conjunction with the local FBA Chapter. This fall, members have the opportunity to eat lunches in judicial chambers with Federal District Court judges. Each week a different judge will host the lunch. These lunches will allow members to meet the judges in a small group setting.

The Division’s capstone event will be hosting the National FBA President, Mark Vincent, and the National Membership Chair, Jonathan Hafen, at KU Law. During Mr. Vincent and Mr. Hafen’s visit, the Division members will learn about the career-lasting benefits provided to FBA members and about the vast amount of FBA opportunities available to law students. Division members will also have the opportunity to attend a meet and greet with Mr. Vincent and Mr. Hafen during their stay.

Of course, none of these events would be possible without the interest of KU Law students, the support of our FBA advisors, and the opportunities provided by the FBA.

Ashley Akers, President
Ethan Brown, Vice President
Will Easley, Treasurer
Tyler Childress, Secretary
Kip Randall, National Representative



UCLA School of Law
Joseph Gilmore, President

The UCLA School of Law FBA Student Division is excited to move forward into our third year as an organization. Each year we try to have a larger impact here at the law school by bringing in opportunities to learn about interesting federal topics, network with local judges and attorneys and discover the value of being a member of the FBA.

Last year was a remarkable year for our Division, largely due to the success of our events. Throughout the year, we brought in panels of judges and attorneys to speak about various topics in the legal field. Our first panel took a unique approach looking at bankruptcy law, by explaining how bankruptcy affects many practice areas outside of bankruptcy and gave an overview of what to look out for. Our next event gave an inside look into securities regulations from the differing perspectives of a SEC trial attorney, a securities defense attorney, and a general counsel compliance officer. Another event brought in several expert attorneys to discuss current issues in the field of intellectual property.

The capstone event from last year was our inaugural “Behind the Bench” event. We invited four federal judges, including the Honorable Alex Kozinski, to come and speak to law students about what it is like to be a federal judge, from their assent to the bench to their lives today. The event was followed by a reception where students were able to meet and talk with the judges in a more casual setting. All of the judges on the panel were remarkably entertaining and personable, and every student I spoke with later had an incredible time listening to their stories. We owe a lot of the success of our events to our incredible panelists and moderators; we’ve been very lucky to have such great guests.

Moving onto the present, we plan to keep our momentum going and continue the trend of interesting and useful events at UCLA. We are having two attorneys come at the end of the month to discuss the effective use of storytelling in litigation, and later in the fall we’ll be bringing in a panel focusing on federal crimes. Of course, we are also very excited to be putting on our second annual “Behind the Bench” event this spring. We hope as this year goes on we can keep growing in membership and explore new ways to connect UCLA law students with the FBA.

Joseph Gilmore, President
Lena Cohen, Vice President
Sina Safvati, Coordination Director
Michele Nielsen, Member


Tulane Law School
Elizabeth Houts, President


The Tulane Law FBA Student Division has exciting plans ahead for the 2015-2016 school year! In addition to inviting several local practitioners to give on-campus presentations about their areas of federal practice, Tulane’s Division will also be continuing its tradition of coordinating several events throughout the school year in conjunction with the New Orleans Chapter. We hope to be able to repeat a successful event from last year, in which the Division hosted a panel of federal judges. Each judge will describe his or her career and how it lead to a judicial seat, answer questions from the moderator, and then field questions from the student members. Following the panel, a reception will give student members a chance to meet and talk with the judges, as well as practitioners from the New Orleans FBA Chapter.

Another popular event that Tulane’s Division has held with the New Orleans and Loyola Chapters in years past is an interviewing and clerkship panel early in the spring semester. The panelists provide student members with tips on landing summer internships and clerkships–from the application stage to post-interview–as well as pointers on how to make a lasting impression and succeed during the clerkship. Panelists typically include several practitioners from the Younger Lawyers Division who generally do the recruiting for their firms, and are best positioned to speak to what they look for.

Elizabeth Houts, President
Ben Pri-Tal, Vice President
Erin Tyrer, Treasurer
Dalton Hirshorn, Secretary
Jack McGee, Permanent YLD Representative



Charleston School of Law
Scott Stonestreet, Outreach Coordinator


The Charleston School of Law’s FBA Student Division had a good first year, but is looking to have a great second year! Our Division embraces being new so we can shape our group to have the strongest benefit for our members and a meaningful impact on the Charleston legal community.

Last year we worked on recruitment and organizational structure. This year we have a good core group that is ready to work. Again, we are focusing on recruitment and plan to have a busy schedule of speakers, events and service opportunities. In September we had a successful afternoon at the student organization expo advertising the Division to students. We are still planning all the details of the coming year, but there are big things in the works and we could not be more excited.

Crystal Swinford, President
Casey Merrell Martens, Vice President
Kaitlin Cox, Secretary
Joseph Schillizzi, Treasurer
Scott Stonestreet, Outreach Coordinator



University of South Carolina School of Law
Mary Cothonneau, Division Member


Last fall, the University of South Carolina School of Law FBA Student Division had an initiation ceremony for its first group of members and officers. The ceremony took place at the Matthew J. Perry Courthouse in Columbia, which is our South Carolina District courthouse. We had multiple guests speak to our new members about the benefits of the FBA and federal practice generally, and we were fortunate to have Judge Terry Wooten, a Chief U.S. District Judge, speak at the ceremony. The ceremony ended with the officers' initiation and oath, followed with the general members' initiation.

Since we are still a new Division, our events for the fall are focused on growing membership. Our leadership team is hoping to have at least one membership interest meeting, and from that point will start looking at potential events to host during the spring semester.


Loyola University New Orleans College of Law
Marshall C. Watson Jr., President


The semester is off to an exciting start for the Loyola New Orleans FBA Student Division. In September, members attended Cocktails With The Court, an event hosted by the New Orleans Chapter’s Young Lawyers Division. We had a wonderful turnout including several federal judges from the Eastern District of Louisiana and two National Past Presidents of the FBA, namely Ashley Belleau and the Honorable Gustavo Gelpí. Our student members found the event to be a fun opportunity to meet judges and attorneys in a less formal setting. Our board has several events planned for the year ahead. Currently, our Vice President, Aimee Chalin, and our Secretary, Rachel Jeandron, are planning a lunchtime panel discussion on the topic of judicial clerkships. This will be an excellent event where students can listen to federal clerks describe the ins and outs of their job and learn how to prime themselves in the event they decide to pursue a clerkship position after graduating. Later in the semester, the Division will co-host a panel with the Loyola Asian Pacific American Law Student Association (APALSA) on alternative legal career paths students can pursue with a Juris Doctor. Our Treasurer, Sowmya Mandava, who holds officer positions in both our Student Division and APALSA, will be organizing the panel discussion and bridging the relationship between our two organizations. We believe this topic is timely and relevant to students seeking federal or state legal positions given the hiring constraints in the legal job market.

With the above programming already scheduled for the fall, we look forward to a successful and productive year.

Marshall Charles Watson Jr., President
Aimee Chalin, Vice President
Rachel Jeandron, Secretary
Sowmya Mandava, Treasurer


University of New Hampshire School of Law
Christian Hans, Treasurer

The 2014-15 year was great for our Division. With trips to the federal courthouse, multiple networking opportunities, and a lesson on Alice, our members had numerous opportunities to meet with federal practitioners and learn about their challenges. This year, we will further these goals through even more and engaging opportunities for all UNH Law students and to further grow our ranks.

University of New Hampshire School of Law (founded in 1973 as Franklin Pierce Law Center) is the first and only law school in New Hampshire. This unique situation has given us the opportunity to have contacts and connections with judges and attorneys in all fields and all levels. Last year, we expanded our membership to over 40 members, which makes us one of the biggest student groups at a law school with less than 200 J.D. students.

Our first event last year was a tour of the Warren B. Rudman Courthouse, which is home to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire. This tour gave everyone an insight into the workings of the federal court as well as an appreciation of the magnificent building that the court calls home.

A local practitioner also hosted a networking event at her house for other local, federal practitioners and law students. Everyone had a good time talking, learning, and making the connections that will aid us all in finding a career.

Our school was founded to fill a gap in intellectual property law, and we continue this tradition. Accordingly, in the spring, we hosted a talk titled, “The Aftermath of Alice.” The landmark Supreme Court case of Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank built off of Bilksi v. Kappos in establishing new guidelines for patentable subject matter. Of course, when these rulings came down from the Court, much confusion has ensued regarding patent law. The talk we hosted discussed the practical applications of these new rules and how a practitioner must now look at inventions on both sides of patent law, prosecution and litigation.

This year, we plan to continue our successful programs to continue to grow and promote federal practice. Our first event this year is a symposium on careers in federal practice. We will be hosting a federal judge, a federal law clerk, an attorney from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and two private practice attorneys to discuss the aspects of their work.

In the spring, we are co-hosting another symposium regarding intellectual property and free speech. The goal of this event is to discuss the constitutionality of IP, especially when IP rights conflict with the rights and freedoms of individuals. We look forward to a great turnout from the community and our law students.

Although we are a small law school in a small state, we will continue to provide large, informative, and enjoyable opportunities for our members and our community. These events would not be possible but for the support given by the administration, faculty, and staff of University of New Hampshire School of Law as well as the local judges, attorneys, and clerks that frequently visit. Without their assistance, the Federal Bar Association could not be as successful as it has been.

Scott Chase, President
John Kind, Vice President
Christian Hans, Treasurer
Michael Inners, Secretary
Heather Johnston, National Delegate

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