J. Reuben Clark Law Society

Connecting Law Students Across the Globe: New Student Chapters Board Chair Brian Anderson Discusses Goals to Strengthen Student Chapters

The JRCLS Newsletter is pleased to include portions of an interview with Brian Anderson. Anderson currently serves as Student Chapters Board Chair over all the national and international JRCLS student chapters. Anderson, who was installed by JRCLS International Chair Ginny Isaacson in May 2016, will serve a one-year term until he graduates from UCLA Law School next May.  The Newsletter thanks him for his time.

JRCLS Newsletter: Tell us a little about your background, education, and professional goals.

Anderson:  I was born and raised in Whittier, CA, which is in Los Angeles County. I did my undergrad at BYU-Provo, where, inspired by my mission to Ukraine from 2009-2011, I graduated in 2014 with a double major in International Relations and Russian. After getting engaged in January 2014, I figured it was time to leave BYU, so I graduated in April 2014, got married in June 2014, moved back to LA with my wife in July, 2014, and started law school at UCLA in August 2014 (it was a busy summer). At UCLA Law, I began my studies with an international law emphasis, but have since broadened my legal education, which I hope will prepare me to be a civil litigator. Though I don't know exactly which area of law I will find myself litigating in the future, as of now I am interested in IP litigation, as well as using my Russian to support the legal needs of an aging Russian population here in LA. This summer I am working at Irell & Manella in Los Angeles, and with any luck, at the end of the summer, I will be extended an offer and continue to work there after graduation.

JRCLS Newsletter:  What are your goals as Student Chapters Board Chair?

Anderson:  My board and I generally are trying to find ways to educate LDS and other like-minded law students about the benefits of Law Society membership. As law students, this is the first time that any of these students can join the Society. Many don't know what it is, and even if they have heard of it, most are not aware of the vast international network that the JRCLS maintains and the good work that it does. Our goals more specifically are to help students from across the United States and the world connect with one another so that they can begin to develop a professional network that is based around faith and the pursuit of protecting religious freedoms. We feel that by focusing on network development now, students will be more willing to fully participate in the Law Society as attorneys.

JRCLS Newsletter: Do you envision large-scale student chapter events as a prong of developing students' network?

Anderson:  We have not had any student-wide activities on a national or international level. However, student chapters are starting now to organize activities for the school year. These activities include inviting judges to discuss how their faith influences their decision making on the bench and inviting practicing lawyers to discuss what it is like being an attorney in a small church congregation where church members feel like they can call you at home to get free legal services. On a larger scale, we plan to gather as many students from across the world as possible for an activity in connection with the Law Society’s February 2017 Annual Conference in Philadelphia.

JRCLS Newsletter:  How are new student chapter chairs trained?

Anderson:  We do not have a formal training system as of yet. Currently, it is the job of the outgoing chapter presidents at the various schools to train their successors. However, we recognize that this is not the most efficient method and it may even be problematic if there is a gap in Law Society membership, especially at schools that traditionally have fewer LDS students. We are working with the Leadership Training Committee to develop a student version of the leadership manual to which students can refer.

JRCLS Newsletter: How many student chapters currently exist?

Anderson:  Over 120 Law Schools across the world have or have had an active JRCLS chapter. As of today about half of those are active.

JRCLS Newsletter: How do you create cohesion among the student chapters?

Anderson:  This is a struggle that is dealt with every year. We are, however, currently trying to fix that by creating a Facebook group that all LDS and like-minded law students can join to interact with one another (https://www.facebook.com/groups/JRCLSstudent/). We also want to encourage greater cohesion between the student chapters and their corresponding attorney chapters. This may also create unity among law school chapters, especially in areas like Los Angeles where the LA Attorney Chapter covers a handful of law schools.

JRCLS Newsletter: What else would you like our readers to know about your work with the JRCLS student chapters?

Anderson:  We are doing our best to make sure that every LDS law student is accounted for and included in the JRCLS membership. If anyone knows of any law students starting school in the fall who need help connecting with their JRCLS chapter, please have them contact me at andersonb2017@lawnet.ucla.edu. If you are a law student or know of a law student at a school that does not have (or, if you are not sure if it has) an active Law Society chapter, please contact me. We hope that by reaching out we can connect with as many LDS law students as possible and strengthen the network of JRCLS student chapters across the world.

By Wendy Fors Jerdon, Media Committee and Brian Anderson

Posted: July 29, 2016