After deciding to pursue careers in law, third-years Manpreet Kaur and Stacey Reimann both wanted to create a space for undergraduates to explore the legal world and navigate it together. Together, they launched UChicago’s chapter of Phi Alpha Delta, a professional pre-law fraternity.
“I wanted to provide students with the ability to explore their interest in a legal career, and to meet students who may be considering the same,” Reimann said. “Law school is an enormous investment, and pursuing a career in law can often be hard to conceptualize without being exposed to the many perspectives from people with a legal background.”
UChicago’s chapter of Phi Alpha Delta is composed of an executive board and seven committees that explore different aspects of a career in law, including professional development, law school liaisons, and alumni relations. Nationally, Phi Alpha Delta, founded in 1902, is the largest professional legal fraternity in the world.
Phi Alpha Delta stood out to Kaur for its size and inclusiveness.
“I think the legal world is already competitive enough, and I don’t see why there should be a competitive aspect to our organization because we want as many experiences as possible and we want everyone to be able to contribute,” Kaur said.
Phi Alpha Delta holds information sessions at the start of every quarter to recruit new students, requiring only a student’s resume and statement of interest. The group has doubled from 20 to 40 undergraduate students since its launch this summer.
“I think we’ve had a very wide interest, which is nice. I don’t think we want as an organization to feel like we’re only marketing to people who know absolutely they want to go to law school right after college,” Vice President of Membership Abigail Huntoon said. “There’s definitely the whole spectrum.”
Phi Alpha Delta seeks to build off existing resources on campus, such as the UChicago Careers in Law (UCIL) program, which offers career exploration, law school visits, and application advising. Reimann stressed the benefits of combining the resources of UCIL and an RSO (Registered Student Organization).
“I think social groups for students outside of Career Advancement are so successful because it gives students an opportunity to hold a leadership position, and make connections on their own by reaching out to professional outlets to supplement the organization’s goal,” he said.
Phi Alpha Delta has already begun to organize events on campus, including LSAT Prep Sessions in collaboration with Manhattan Prep test company. Future events include a panel with attorneys from Sidley Austin LLP, to discuss their experiences in the workplace.
Second-year Maria Kollaros decided to join Phi Alpha Delta due to its network and support in preparing for law school.
“[Phi Alpha Delta] seemed like the perfect source to learn from current law school students and current lawyers, who we will become connected with, about what it's like to attend law school and to practice law,” she said.“ I would prefer to know if a career in law would suit me before I invest in law school, and possibly get a sense of what type of law I would be interested in practicing.”
Reimann and Kaur hope to combine the pre-professional and social aspects of the fraternity into UChicago’s chapter.
“My ultimate vision for [Phi Alpha Delta] is to create a student organization that works closely with the law school as well as with the legal community in the city of Chicago, to provide undergraduate students the proper tools to help them decide if a career in law fits their personality and their interests,” Riemann said.
Kaur stressed the importance of community to the fraternity’s success.
“A personal high point for me is being able to know that the fraternity has in some way introduced people to each other who normally would not have met, even though they share the common interest of wanting to go into the legal world,” Kaur said.