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Leadership and the ABA


Vol. 39 No. 5
By Paul D. Edger

The ABA Law Student Division offers its law student members opportunities to grow both personally and professionally. While the ABA offers its members a plethora of wonderful benefits such as internships and job opportunities, the Division also offers the opportunity for law students to hold elected and appointed leadership positions at various levels.
The Division offers more than 100 leadership positions including Division officers, regional circuit governors, competition directors, student editor, and student liaisons to the 60+ ABA specialty practice entities, to name a few. Not only does a leadership position help those who served personally, but their employers benefit as well.

Brian Redar, a staff attorney at the Office of Associate Chief Counsel–Los Angeles for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a component of the Department of Homeland Security, served as a Lt. Governor for the Division’s 5th Circuit, Vice Chair of the Division, and Division Representative to the ABA Board of Governors during law school. Redar is a perfect example of an ABA student leader who used his ABA leadership experience to help his employer. He attributes his ABA leadership positions with molding him into an effective leader. “One of the greatest developmental strengths of my time as an LSD leader was my time spent communicating with law school deans, law students, ABA staff, ABA leadership, and members. Each group required different techniques to deliver the ultimate message. From an employer’s aspect, my leadership experience demonstrated that I was able to effectively communicate throughout a cross-section of our profession. I trust that this was a valuable asset to my employers.”

The Division also had an immense impact on Eric Koester, former Division Vice Chair-Student Bar Associations, and now the vice-president of Operations and general counsel of Appature Inc., a software company developing marketing and business intelligence software for the health-care sector. Koester began his leadership development as the SBA President at George Washington University School of Law before joining the ABA Law Student Division Board of Governors as a national officer representing all law school SBA presidents. Koester, too, believes that his ABA volunteer leadership experience improved his management and leadership abilities, including expanding his professional network, which he says his employer viewed as a major asset in his potential employment. “The ABA connects you with other leaders that can share their experiences and knowledge in a way you can’t find anywhere else.” Eric also found that the ABA teaches you how to work with and manage people, particularly those located in places across the country and around the globe, which is an invaluable tool for any potential employee.

Koester and Redar aren’t the only students who found that the ABA helped them in practice by advancing their leadership skills. Mark Pascua, the past Secretary-Treasurer and former 3rd Circuit Governor for the Division, found that the ABA “fine-tuned” his interpersonal skills. Through his ability to balance school and leading thousands of students, Pascua’s employer regarded these abilities as a true asset. Pascua is currently employed with the Department of Health and Human Services in the Office of the Inspector General. “The ability to balance school work and lead others as a regional Circuit Governor and as national officer was an asset to the agency. It demonstrated my ability to work well with others, and my past success introduced the potential to bring new and exciting ideas to the team dynamic that my agency uses. Without my experience in the ABA Law Student Division, I believe I would not be where I am today.”

In today’s job market, my experience as 3rd Circuit Governor has truly set me apart from other applicants. There is nothing that highlights a student more among his or her peers than holding a leadership position in the ABA—a position that truly elicits the skills of a fluid communicator, efficient leader, and talented multitasker. Serving the students of the nation’s 199 ABA-approved law schools shows employers that the added talent of a student leader lends itself to a student’s ability to bring a higher level of potential to any organization.

See more information about available leadership positions

—Paul D. Edger, a 3L at Widener University School of Law in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, is Governor of the 3rd Circuit and cochair of the Law Student Division Elections Committee.

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.