Remembering the History, Success, and Growth of JRCLS
Did you ever wonder which chapter was the first of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society? Or what the Law Society's first brochure looked like? In 2009 the Executive Committee of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society asked for volunteers to work to collect, preserve, and organize the society's history. The history committee was formed and immediately got to work on a three-fold strategy: (1) conduct oral interviews with some of the key founders of the Law Society, (2) assist chapters with their individual historical record-keeping, and (3) collect documents and photographs pertaining to the founding and on-going history of the Law Society.
Several key founders of the Law Society have been interviewed regarding their vision and work to get the JRCLS up and going. Nancy Van Slooten recalled the very first meeting of the Los Angeles chapter in 1988 at the Jonathan Club and then the LA chapter's first annual dinner in 1989 at the Hilton Hotel with Elder Howard W. Hunter. She mentioned that she is willing to dedicate so much energy in her position as the current International Chair because of how the JRCLS uplifts her and gives her a feeling of purpose. Remarking about the work of the history committee, Nancy commented, "If we know our roots then we can spring forward from that." You can read Nancy's complete interview as well as conversations with Reese Hansen (Dean of BYU's law school 1990-2004), Scott Cameron (JRCLS Executive Director), Keith Thompson, and Neville Rochow (key founders of Australia, Asia Pacific, and Africa chapters) on the website. Upcoming interviews that will be available in the near future include Elder Bruce Hafen, Elder Ralph Hardy, Joseph Bentley, Brent Belnap, and Lew Cramer.
The history committee's work is on-going, and you can be involved! Each chapter had the opportunity to respond to a questionnaire seeking information including when the chapter was founded, who were the founding attorneys, what notable speakers have participated at chapter events, and what committees are active within the chapter. Many chapters responded and the information they provided is available on the JRCLS website. For those chapters who have not responded, you still can by navigating to https://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=dHQ2VEFWM2d2NnZ2MjNfQW1XUm1fcUE6MA. Each chapter also is encouraged to complete a simple history report to capture the chapter's leadership, accomplishments, initiatives, and events for the year.
We invite you to explore the J. Reuben Clark Law Society's history by visiting the webpage http://www.jrcls.org/about/history.php. Peruse the original brochure from 1988 introducing the idea of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society, learn more about other chapters, and read interviews that remind us of how remarkable it is to be connected with other lawyers who strive for both professional excellence as well as faithfulness to the principles of the Gospel.
By Danielle Dallas
Posted: August 17, 2011