“OMG, he’s totally a Korean Pop Star,” said one 1L about an SBA Executive Board member. “WHAT?! OMG, you’re totally right!” said another 1L in response. From being confused with a Korean pop star, to being moot court national team members and tournament coordinators, or even grad/law softball champs, our law school is lead by a set of diverse, dynamic, and distinctive students.
Each spring, the University of San Diego School of Law elects individuals to represent them as members of the Student Bar Association (“SBA”). The SBA is the umbrella organization for all student clubs at the law school and serves as a voice and liaison between the faculty and administration and the law students. The SBA has many different positions for students to become more involved; however, it is led by a five-person executive board consisting of President, Vice President, Vice President of Organizations, Treasurer, and Secretary. The SBA leaders this year are (respectively) Lyon Maher, Natalie Price, Kevin Kwon, David Israel and Sara Rasmussen.
This year’s executive board has found three key areas they would like to focus on improving at USD School of Law and they have begun planning ways to help strengthen USD Law for future generations. The three issues include diversity, law school parking, and helping to place qualified students in jobs.
With 37% minorities, USD Law still has a long ways to go before it reaches the level of diversity of some other law schools in the state. The SBA would like to find ways to help increase diversity in the school, which would also help in our rankings and our reputation. The university has a fairly even gender split of 49% female to 51% male and a widespread range of individuals in regards to age (from 20 to 47). Slowly, our school is becoming even more diverse in thought, experience, and gender. We want to continue this forward momentum. Hopefully, the SBA will be able to help the Admissions Office with recruitment and to help support several of the ethnic diversity student organizations.
The struggle between undergraduate versus law school privileges has become quite legendary due to the constant battle for power. Law school parking has been a vexing issue that the student bar association has faced for many years. The biggest issue tends to concern the parking lot between Warren Hall and the Legal Research Center. Law students want that space for themselves, while undergraduates park and fill the lot by 8:01 every morning. The SBA has worked extremely hard to negotiate with the University to develop some sort of agreement for law students to have sole ability to park in the lot. This year’s SBA has the hope that they will be able to make more headway with the University on behalf of USD Law. If any understanding is made, it would likely not be implemented until next year. This year’s SBA will have to be more creative with their tact and be more realistic with their negotiations because the University has heard arguments through the years and has yet to budge.
Finally, with this economy, the job market has become even smaller, yet more saturated. The SBA hopes to be able to work with career services and several entities to help students network and have a better opportunity at receiving jobs. As recommended by several officers, students should become as involved as possible. Attending events and networking opportunities via student organizations or the San Diego County Bar Association will give students a leg up in the job hunt and an opportunity to find a position after graduation. Further, students should remember that their peers are the key to success so members of the SBA Executive Board recommend not being “a jerk to your fellow classmates.” The legal market, particularly in San Diego, is extremely small, and people will remember who you are—especially if you’re unfriendly and unlikeable.
This year’s Student Bar Association has many goals and initiatives for the coming year. Based on the success of the Book Exchange and Orientation, SBA has had a great start; hopefully it will continue this positive trend.