Leading the Columbia Pre-Law Society over the last two years—as Co-President (2014-15) and then President (2015-16)—has truly been one of the best experiences of my life.
This club has been my “baby,” and it has been incredibly rewarding to see it grow over the last two years: e.g. our Facebook engagement has increased 5-fold and we’ve tripled the number of events that we run on campus annually!
Our achievements have only been possible because of our amazing people, and I have nothing but praise for my teammates at the Columbia Pre-Law Society—I couldn’t have asked for more competent or committed colleagues and friends.
Therefore, it is with great pleasure that I’d like to introduce your new student leaders for 2016-17:
- Co-Presidents: Divya Sundaram BC’17 and Ashley Youn-Jae Lee GS’17
- Co-Vice Presidents: Renata Castilho CC’17 and Youzhihang Deng CC’17
I’ve worked closely with Ashley and Divya for the last 2 years, and Renata and Youzhihang over the last year, and have full confidence in their leadership and commitment to the Columbia Pre-Law Society. I am sure that they will take this club to even higher heights. Do check out the amazing campaign website that Divya and Ashley made for our internal elections: http://ashleydivya16.tumblr.com/
This isn’t goodbye just yet—the new board will officially take office on April 5th, 2016, so you may still receive event reminder emails from me until then.
But I will miss you—one of the best parts of this job has been meeting you, our General Body members, whether by email, phone or in-person at our events. So please feel free to continue to email me with questions and/or connect with me on LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/in/genevieveantono). I’m also returning to the board next year as a Senior Mentor, so you’ll probably still catch me at events. 🙂
What a joy it has been. Last two weeks!
This is the second year that our club has cooperated with the Athena Pre-Law Society (our counterpart at Barnard College) to run a mentorship program with Columbia Law School students. This year, we had whooping 114 people in the program: 57 law student mentors and 57 undergraduate mentees!
It was particularly challenging to get this project off the ground this year, as our two clubs came to the table with vastly different visions of what the program budget and admissions criteria for mentees should be. Ultimately, though, this turned out to be a great exercise in negotiating patiently, learning which “No’s” really mean (or don’t really mean) “No,” and finding common ground. We ended up putting together an amazing joint program and I’m actually really excited to see the two clubs cooperate again next year.
The notes and photographs below are from the “Kick-Off” event that I led, together with Ashley Lee and Ayo Osobamiro from my team. Given that we had over 100 people in the program but still wanted the night to be highly interactive, we decided that it would be best to seat everyone in 10 groups of approximately 10 people each, with a CLS mentor in each circle volunteering to moderate it. These were the suggested discussion questions that we gave to our volunteer moderators:
Photos (taken by Divya):
Towards the end of last semester, I asked my board to fill out a “feedback form” about how I was doing as President. Although my reviews were generally positive, I noted that a couple of my teammates expressed they were getting a bit bored by the direction of my programming (“too much corporate law”) and that they wanted more opportunities to be creative and plan their own events. In response to this feedback, and with succession planning vaguely on my mind, I decided to take a “hands off” approach in the organizing of our first-ever Spring Conference; I would watch closely, but not take any action unless absolutely necessary.
That Spring Conference was Lawlapalooza. Divya, Renata and Daniel volunteered to be Conference Directors, and everyone else broke up into teams to decide on topics and what speakers they wanted to hear from. As you’ll see from the flyer below, we had panels on: the Judiciary, Public Interest Law, Legal Academia, and Law & Tech.
I was very humbled to see that (1) the Board seemed to function just fine without me, and (2) there wasn’t a single Corporate Law speaker in the final line-up! Haha. (It’s probably a good thing I wasn’t involved in the selection of topics, or our 4 panels would have been on something along the lines of M&A, PE, Capital Markets and International Arbitration instead…)
Which is to say, my Board is amazing. Lawlapalooza ended up being fantastic, and I am happy to report that I take absolutely zero credit for it. 🙂
Check out the Lawlapalooza flyers and event photos below (graphics by Divya and photographs by Ashley):
This panel was born out of a question that our General Body members would repeatedly ask during the Q&A time after our events, namely variations of: Should I work before law school? Should I spend 2 years as a paralegal before law school? Should I take time off before law school?
We had 4 guest speakers at this event: a Legal Recruiting Manager, a practicing attorney and two recent Class of 2015 Columbia graduates who decided to take time off and go “straight through” respectively.
(My fellow Columbia undergrads might recognize Tony Lee, the former Activities Board Council president, from the poster below. They might also recognize Wai Choy—he acted as one of the Mathletes in Mean Girls!!*)
Poster (designed by Divya):
*Not even embarrassed to admit that when I first met Wai at another event and realized he was in Mean Girls, I totally fangirled and made him take a picture with me… Haha.
Our team is busy and works very hard, so the group atmosphere can sometimes be a tiny bit serious. Which is why I’m incredibly grateful for Eileen, our amazing Social Events chair, for putting up Board Bonding nights like this one: trivia night in Arianna’s suite!
Sometime over the summer, a highly persuasive McKinsey recruiter asked me why I was drawn to corporate law. I said something along the lines of wanting to: work on exciting, cross-border deals, learn about a gazillion industries and build relationships with clients. She said, “Great! A career in management consulting will give you the same thing.”
This event was the result of that conversation. We figured that other pre-law students might be interested in, for example, working in consulting before going to law school and that it might be worthwhile to bring in a speaker. We were right—more than 70 students turned up!
Check out our event flyer (design by Divya):
This was our first pre-professional event of the year. Our Pre-Professional Committee, comprised of Daniel, Brooke and Renata, planned this event and what an amazing job they did. We had an incredible turnout… 80-90 people on a Friday night!
Flyer and photographs by Divya/Marketing Team:
(Note: a 5th speaker, an Assistant Attorney General, also spoke at the panel.)