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Officially Speaking


By Cleveland M. Patterson, III.

In my capacity as a Law Student Division Delegate to the ABA House of Delegates and as the ABA representative at Southern University Law Center, I have addressed and interacted with countless members of the Law Student Division. In almost every conversation, the question “What can the ABA do for me?” is asked. I usually respond with a two-fold answer. First, I’ll say that the ABA and the Division have a plethora of resources for all law students, whether they are a 1L just beginning their law school career or a 3L seeking post-graduation employment.

One of the most utilized resources provided by the Division is the Public Interest, Diversity, and Professionalism Grant. The Grant Program provides financial and program support to student organizations of ABA-approved law schools to establish first-time programs and activities that emphasize diversity, ethics, professionalism training, and other public interest activities. The ABA also provides invaluable networking opportunities as well as a directory of local pro bono programs if you are interested in participating in public interest activities.

My next response to the initial question is usually “What can you do for the ABA?” Before they have an opportunity to answer, I’ll tell them that the Division has many leadership positions, allowing them to serve the 35,000 members of the Law Student Division. The Division is currently accepting applications for the positions of Vice Chair-Student Bar Associations and Division Delegates to the ABA House of Delegates, which are elected at the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois, this August. Nomination forms can be found on the Division’s website. All applications must be postmarked by June 1, 2012, and must be sent by overnight delivery service. For more information, see page 33.

As the 2011–12 academic year draws to a close, every law student should be thinking about how they can take full advantage of the nearly endless resources provided by the ABA. And while pondering about utilizing those wonderful resources, think about the service you could provide to your school, your circuit, and the entire Law Student Division. Ask not what the ABA can do for you; ask what you can do for the ABA.


Cleveland M. Patterson, III, Southern University Law Center, is Division Delegate

Vol. 40 No. 8

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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