Vol. 40 No. 3
ByBrandon S. Smith
Brandon S. Smith, from the University of South Carolina School of Law, is the ABA Board of Governors Representative for the Law Student Division.
The vote stood unanimous. At the ABA Annual Meeting in Toronto, more than 500 attorneys from throughout the nation assembled in the House of Delegates and voted in favor of Law Student Resolution 11-3, amending the bylaws of the American Bar Association and changing history for law students here forward.
The passage of 11-3 provides the Law Student Division representative a vote on the ABA Board of Governors, the governing body of the ABA. The result of this action ensures that law student members not only have a seat at the table or a voice to be heard, but also a vote to influence and record. As the Law Student Division representative to the ABA Board of Governors, I will be the first law student of this position to enjoy this vote. I do not take this opportunity for granted; rather, I understand the weight of representing students across the nation and I want to hear from you. Furthermore, the previous Law Student Division Board of Governors and Division staff are due enormous recognition and praise in achieving this effort.
After personally sitting through the Board of Governor’s endorsement of the resolution, and then witnessing the vote in the House of Delegates, it was inspiring to see the overwhelming support from the leaders that have influenced and guided this profession for decades. ABA President Bill Robinson spoke with me as the House closed session and said, “however I can help, let me know.” Clearly, the ABA wants students to influence the matters that rest at the heart of this prestigious profession.
The modern student continues to evolve. The growing contingent of law students enters law school with significant life exposure and experience. Some students have made great sacrifice to pursue a distinguished career as a lawyer, leaving another profession or coming into school with families of their own. I understand the perplexing cycle of inflated law school tuition and the debt that constricts the full enjoyment of practicing law for many graduates across the country. Rest assured, the ABA is taking the lead on these issues by seeking solutions to the increased costs to attend law school combined with the lack of available jobs.
There has never been a better time for law students to shape the future of this profession. Now is the time. Get involved. If you’re a member of the Law Student Division and some of your peers have yet to engage, recruit them and together we can better our profession for years to come.
Engineer and naturalist John Muir, once said, “One can make a day of any size.” This vote of confidence highlights that, as students, this is our day. Let’s make an impact together.