The Benefits of Joining Law School Student Organizations

The Benefits of Joining Law School Student OrganizationsThis week we welcome back guest writer Marissa Geannette to discuss why joining a law school organization can be beneficial to your life as a law student.

Law school can be an intense experience, filled with long hours of studying, tough classes, and even tougher professors. While most law students are focused on academic success, seeking out a supportive community that fosters personal and professional growth is just as important. One of the most effective ways to do this is by joining law school student organizations.

You might not feel like you have a lot of free time on your hands, but making the time for these extracurriculars offers benefits that can significantly enhance your law school experience and your future legal career. Here, we explore the many advantages of becoming an active member of your law school student organizations and how doing so can help you find your legal community during law school and beyond.

1. Connection and Networking Opportunities

Law school student organizations are one of the best ways to network, connecting you with not only your classmates but alumni and legal professionals, too. Through events like guest lectures, panel discussions, and social events, you can interact with your peers, attorneys, judges, and others in the legal field.

Building these connections early on can lead to friendships, as well as internships, clerkships, and job opportunities down the line. Additionally, the relationships formed within these organizations often last beyond law school, creating a supportive network you can rely on throughout your career. You never know how someone you meet at a cocktail party, game, or volunteer event might cross your path again.

2. Help With Professional Development

Law school is sometimes criticized for not preparing students for what it’s really like to be a lawyer. But student organizations can help fill some of those gaps. They provide an invaluable platform for gaining essential professional skills that extend way beyond what you learn in the classroom. Leadership positions within these groups can offer you the chance to develop and refine organizational, communication, and management skills. It’s excellent preparation for your legal career.

In addition, working on diverse teams can expose you to different perspectives and helps improve your ability to collaborate effectively – an essential trait for any successful lawyer. These experiences and skills can give you a competitive edge in the job market.

3. Offer Diverse Learning Opportunities

Law school student organizations often host workshops, seminars, and conferences on various legal topics. These events can supplement your regular law school curriculum and allow you to explore areas of law that might not be covered in-depth in the classroom (or at all).

A lot of time, it is hard to find (or find the time for) classes focusing on practical topics, like environmental law. Participating in these activities expands your knowledge and can help you discover your passions and interests within the legal field.

4. Provide Academic Guidance and Resources

Student organizations frequently offer academic support to members, especially for challenging courses or bar exam preparation. Many organizations organize study groups or provide access to valuable resources such as past exams and study guides.

Not only will joining organizations like these help you on your exams, but the collaborative learning environment also fosters a sense of camaraderie among students that is sometimes missing in law school.

5. Support Personal Well-being and Mental Health

Law school can be an overwhelming experience, and you might face high levels of stress for the first time. Joining a student organization can act as a buffer against these challenges. Being part of a community that understands the struggles of law school can provide emotional support and help alleviate feelings of isolation.

Events, social gatherings, and wellness programs organized by student groups often help promote a healthier study-life balance and provide guidance on how to achieve that. Maintaining that balance is crucial for your mental well-being during law school and once you’re a practicing lawyer.

6. Advocacy and Social Impact

Many law school student organizations focus on advocacy and social justice issues. Joining groups like your school’s public interest law foundation allows you to contribute to meaningful causes and make a positive impact while still a student.

Engaging in pro bono work or community service through these organizations helps you develop your legal skills and reinforces the importance of using your legal education to support causes you believe in.

7. Specialization and Career Exploration

Law students often enter law school with a vague idea of what area of law they want to pursue (I count myself as one of those who had no idea what a corporate lawyer actually did before I became one). Student organizations centered around specific legal interests, such as human rights law, start-ups, entertainment law, or intellectual property, offer opportunities to explore areas of personal interest.

This exposure during law school can help you make informed decisions about your future legal career. It’s never too early to start exploring potential career paths, and this is one way to do just that.

Make the Time for Student Organizations – You Won’t Regret It

Joining student organizations is a great way to find your legal community during law school and beyond. It can transform law school from a solitary experience into a community-based one, making your journey to becoming a lawyer more fulfilling and rewarding.


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About Marissa Geannette

Marissa graduated from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law in 2009 where she was a member of the Law Review. She began her career in the corporate department of White & Case LLP in NYC and spent 8 years as an associate there. Marissa is passionate about educating law students and recent law grads about Biglaw and career paths one can take after law school (both traditional and non-traditional). She wrote her book, “Behind the Biglaw Curtain” to help demystify Biglaw for those beginning their careers. Whether it’s in Biglaw or not, she believes that there is a satisfying career out there for everyone (even if it’s not the traditional one you thought you were “supposed” to have).

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