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Distribution of information is key to developing solid membership program


By Matthew Gorney
Matthew Gorney, a 2L at the University of Kansas School of Law, is student editor of Student Lawyer.

The Membership and Activity Award is given to a school based on its membership goals, school activities, promotions, and use of ABA resources.

Claire Chaplinski, 3L and John Marshall Law School ABA representative, says the school’s past representative had a lot to do with winning the award.

“It was an honor to be nominated and it was just unreal to actually be able to win it,” Chaplinski says. “I think we really had a wonderful ABA rep who worked with the SBA and our administration, as well the ABA, to have a lot of membership efforts at John Marshall.”

John Marshall SBA President James O’Shea says the school’s proximity to ABA headquarters helps with access to ABA resources.

“What makes it easier for us is the ABA headquarters is literally six blocks from John Marshall, so it’s right down the street,” O’Shea says. “But we also have the student rep who keeps us informed for when we can’t make it those six blocks. She brings information back to the students, and it gets disseminated throughout the whole school.”

And it’s that distribution of information that is the key to developing a solid ABA membership program. O’Shea says a simple lack of knowledge about what benefits membership in the ABA provides is the biggest barrier to increasing membership.

“I think students need to learn it’s a very, very low membership price to be in the ABA,” he says. “At John Marshall, we do a great job of getting that information out there.”

As for next year, Chaplinski says she hopes John Marshall is able to win back-to-back Membership and Activity Awards.

“You always want to try to hold onto your crown if you can,” Chaplinski says. “I think we’re going to have a lot of stiff competition because I think we had a lot of stiff competition this year.

“But we’re certainly going to do our best, and we really enjoy working with the ABA and everything the ABA has to offer John Marshall and everything John Marshall has to offer to the ABA.”

Student Lawyer Student Lawyer magazine provides guidance on educational, career, and related issues for ABA Law Student Division members and other subscribers. It is published four times a year by the Law Student Division of the American Bar Association. Student Lawyer is available online to members of the ABA Law Student Division and to print subscribers.

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