Introducing Your Alumni Association Board

 

Kelly Galligan
J.D. Candidate 2015, UCI Law

When choosing law schools, the small size of UCI Law’s alumni base initially gave me pause. Ironically, what I assumed was a limitation of our school turned out to be one of its greatest assets. What our alumni lack in numbers, they more than make up for in UCI Law gusto.

I attribute the continued enthusiasm of our alumni base to two factors. First, it only makes sense that the people who dedicated themselves to creating UCI Law would maintain their allegiance, and they have. Upon meeting any one of our alumni, it is clear that the community bond and school loyalty does not end upon graduation.

Second, our alumni remain devoted because of their character. Whether or not you’ve realized it, choosing to attend UCI Law, a school in its beginning years, says a lot about our character. We are adventure seekers, leaders, and game changers. Choosing UCI Law also speaks to our recognition of social responsibility. We all chose to come to an institution that demands the highest moral standards, requires consideration toward one another, and urges us to care for the less fortunate. And our alumni are cut from the same socially conscious, take-life-by-the-horns cloth that we are.

Because of what they have built together and because of their character, our alumni base is unlike any other in the world.

We have a lot to thank them for. They created the tradition that has become the fabric of UCI Law. They fostered the air of friendliness in the courtyard, the feeling of collegiality in the classroom, and the duty of social responsibility around campus. They made the law school we have all come to call “home.”

It is exciting to realize that these tight-knit individuals, the men and women responsible for our community, are the ones tasked with growing a strong and effective Alumni Association (“AA”). Based on my positive experiences at UCI Law, I have no doubt in their ability to pave the way for our future alumni.

Our AA elected a Board and Governing Council (the “Board”), led by President Jeffrey Wachs. Christopher Dalbey is First Vice President and Isra Shah is Second Vice President. Fae Dagonese is Secretary and Jigar Vakil is Financial Liaison. Other Board members include Alexandra Alvarez, Francisco Balderrama, Joe Boniwell, Joni Carrasco, Denny Chan, Jennifer Chin, Christina Chen, Alisa Hartz, Michael Klinger, Samrah Mahmoud, Joshua Schraer, Jean Su, Meg Tanaka, Irina Trasovan, and James Yoon.

The Board also installed a student representative to act as a liaison between the Board and the student body. I hold this position and am writing this article to introduce the Board and to keep students informed of AA happenings.

The Board’s purpose is set out in their by-laws:

The purpose of [the AA] is to promote the professional and social interests of the alumni of [UCI Law]. Those interests include advancing the cause of innovative legal education at the Law School, promoting the interests of access to justice, raising funds and/or assisting in the raising of funds for the Law School, and promoting and perpetuating good feelings and commonality of interest among the Law School’s alumni, students, faculty, and friends.

In order to keep in touch with our on-campus contingency, the Board meets with Dean Chemerinsky each quarter. This meeting provides an avenue for the Board to express its needs and concerns with the school, and to elicit any ways they can be of service to UCI Law and its students.

One of the Board’s primary goals is building community among graduates and with students. Board members have hosted successful events, including a welcoming BBQ in May for recent graduates and a summer social at the Auld Dubliner. They are looking forward to participating in another alumni, student, and faculty mixer this spring. Additionally, in January, our graduates will be working with the Career Development Office to help students prepare for interviews, including conducting mock interviews.

Further, the Board is concerned with maintaining UCI Law’s public interest orientation and supports the school’s continued encouragement of public interest work. They are advocating for public interest fellowships and informally assisting students in their public interest job hunts. If anyone is interested in a career in public interest, feel free to reach out to your alumni base because they are ready and eager to help.

The Board truly is enthusiastic about creating a strong AA and in supporting the student body. If you have any ideas, questions, or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to any member of the Board, myself included. The Board can be reached at alumniboard@lawnet.uci.edu. Also, be sure to check out the new AA website at alumni.law.uci.edu.

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