By Mark Kobzik
The Office of Student Involvement and Leadership (OSIL) recently re-approved the UNH Pre-Law Society (PLS) as a student organization on campus. Last year, the Pre-Law Society lost its recognition as an official organization due to members not attending one of the OSIL meetings.
According to Paula DiNardo, the PLS academic advisor, the group has been around since 2012, but the seniors who started it didn’t take the time to develop the program.
“The group didn’t do a good job of bringing up future leadership. Last spring the PLS lost recognition for failure to meet some of the requirements established for recognized student orgs,” said DiNardo.
“The group focuses on educating students about the law school application process, career options for those who attend law school, networking with lawyers (preferably UNH alumni in the field), and being a support system for students in the application process,” she added.
Elizabeth Barrett, a senior political science major, is the current president of PLS.
DiNardo remarked that Barrett “was instrumental in the re-recognition process once she learned that the organization was struggling. Her persistence is really the reason why the student organization is back on track today.”
Barrett has been a member since last year, but after becoming president, she took over and changed the way the organization worked. Her goals include expanding the membership, keeping the format of the group consistent, and mixing up the meetings to include new and different guest speakers. PLS meets every week and will be hosting a guest speaker on March 16, who will talk about life after law school.
“What happened last year encouraged me to have something going. We needed to keep the group expanding as a niche field. This time around communication is key,” Barrett said.
Barrett also highlighted the importance of using social media and Wildcat Link as tools for broadening the membership. She highly recommended visiting the group’s Wildcat Link, Facebook and Twitter pages to people who are interested in joining or learning more.
In recent years, the field of law has continually looked dim. Forbes magazine featured a piece called, “Attorney offers students 1,000 reasons to skip law school.” Not a particularly hopeful outlook, especially from someone who is a lawyer. But that might change considering the fact that law degrees and the jobs available should begin to level out according to the National Association of Law Placement data.
However Barrett said, “that there are a lot of different areas you can go into and being passionate about it makes it just that much easier.”
Meetings are held in MUB room 115; the group will feature its first guest speaker on March 16. The schedule for the rest of the semester will feature more speakers and seminars on topics such as criminal and business law.
“We want to get people to our meetings and get them interested. We’re just trying to build the group. We need to be open to new membership. Students should know that if they’re freshmen or sophomores, it’s not too early, and if they’re juniors or seniors it’s not too late,” said Barrett.