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2/21/14: A Closer Look: Student Bar Association

Release Date: 2/21/2014

Each student is a member of the Student Bar Association (SBA), by virtue of attending Charleston Law. The mission of the SBA is to serve as a collective voice for the student body and to help provide an exciting experience through social, academic and community service events. More specifically, the SBA administers the budget of student activity funds, recommends positive changes to campus policy and provides the Weekly Dicta.

The core of the SBA is composed of 16 committees, and students may chose to represent the School in a number of factions—from the Orientation Committee, which assists the Office of Admission and coordinates student panels during orientation, to the Community Service Committee, which organizes events throughout the semester like blood drives and the Cinderella Project, or the Finance Committee, which oversees the budget—students have a variety of ways to contribute to the organizations’ success.

In addition, the SBA has been instrumental in its mission to represent students by changing library hours, monitoring exam rescheduling policies and attaining iPads for students to use in the library.

Daniel Cooper, 3L president and Annah Woodward, 2L senator, share more with a Q&A:

What is your favorite part about the SBA?

Daniel: “At many law schools across the country, students merely follow in tradition, but because our school is still so young, we have the unique ability to not just follow in tradition, but to create it. The ability to change the school for the better, to help it improve and grow, and to shape the traditions for the classes yet to come is by far my favorite part of SBA.”

Annah: “I find the parallels between SBA and the ‘real’ government similar and fascinating.  It seems unreal that a small law school in South Carolina would mirror our U.S. government, but I've seen us deal with the same executive, budgetary and senatorial issues just on a smaller scale. I suppose this is my favorite part of SBA because it shows that at the end of the day, whether law students or federal legislatures, we all find importance in the same things.” 

What have you gained from being in a leadership role?

Daniel: “The lessons I have learned about leadership, management and fiscal responsibility are applicable no matter what type of career I have—whether I open my own firm, start out as an associate at an existing firm, or go into public service, my time with SBA gives me an advantage over those who have never had the real-world experience I've had. If I get the opportunity to run for elected office, serving as president of SBA will definitely have been a valuable experience.”

Annah: “I have a great motivation to be engaged and well-informed on matters that affect the students. Being in a leadership position means being open to criticism and suggestions from those I represent and having the gumption to stand up to solve problems if something goes awry.” 

What lessons have you learned?

Daniel: “Two of the main lessons I've learned are some of the most important lessons I'll take away from law school. First, surround yourself with a great team. Without Jean, RJ, Katherine, and all the Senators, I would never have survived this year. In any leadership or management position, you need people you can trust—that you can count on.  Plus surrounding yourself with people who are smarter than you can only help you. The second lesson is to be straight and honest with people. Trust is one of the most valuable assets that a person can have, regardless of their position. Serving as President of the SBA has been one of the greatest, toughest, but most enjoyable experiences I've had.”

What will you take away as being the president of the SBA?

Daniel: “This position has allowed me to learn more about leadership, about how to manage and delegate, how to work with different people and perspectives, how to gain and build trust, and also what is expected of those in leadership roles.  It's a learning experience that prepares you for the real-world; a lesson in leadership, management and fiscal responsibility is invaluable regardless of future goals and plans.”   

What will be the most memorable takeaway from this experience?

Annah: “I really enjoy the people I serve with on SBA. There are so many intelligent, articulate, and compassionate members that I learn from all the time. They care about our school and the legacy we leave, and it's refreshing to see them focused on the good of the school rather than themselves. I'm thankful to consider them friends!” 

Visit the organization's webpage here.

Below is information regarding elections this semester:

  • Tuesday, March 4 - noon and 5 p.m. Information sessions for executive and senatorial candidates. Paperwork will be disseminated to interested candidates. Location TBD.
  • Wednesday, March 19 - Executive Candidate campaigning opens.
  • Thursday, March 20 - Executive open house at noon.
  • Monday, March 24 - Executive Candidate voting opens at 9 a.m.
  • Tuesday, March 25 - Executive Candidate voting closes at 5 p.m. Announcement of results after the close of voting.
  • Wednesday, March 26 - Executive Candidate runoff elections, if necessary.
  • Monday, March 31 - Senatorial Candidate campaigning opens.
  • Thursday, April 3 - Senatorial Candidate voting opens at 9 a.m. and close at 5 p.m. Announcement of results after the close of voting.
  • Monday, April 7 - Senatorial Candidate runoff elections, if necessary.

Written and photographed by: Kat Drerup