Six University at Buffalo students gathering around a tabling smiling and talking, while looking at paperwork.

Students Helping Students: 2 New Groups Aim to Enhance the Law School Experience

Published December 13, 2021

While law school can be known as a grueling academic marathon, it’s also known as a place of great personal growth, expression and social networking. The University at Buffalo School of Law is proud to offer its students more than 20 student organizations that seamlessly integrate into the School of Law experience. These diverse clubs, associations, societies and boards allow students to contribute their time and talent towards both personal and professional growth.

Just as law school is a time of development and change, the student organizations offered at UB Law continue to grow and expand. In this post, we’re taking a look at two of the newest organizations to join the university community: The Student Wellness Society and the First-Generation Law Students Association.

But First: Why Join a Student Organization?

Even with the rigorous academic schedule of law school, many law students at University at Buffalo School of Law find themselves involved in more than one organization. These groups are not only amazing for networking, they fill an important need for self-expression and socializing. Here students can meet likeminded and similarly situated students in the School of Law to expand their talents, build social and academic skills and forge lasting friendships.

During the last two years, COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on mental health across the nation. Students in particular have seen a large impact to their daily lives, previously being unable to attend classes and having their daily social lives limited. The Student Wellness Society was established to combat issues related to mental health and well-being, not only during the COVID-19 pandemic, but for years to come. The student organization hopes to bring awareness to mental health concerns as students struggle to manage their time and stress levels, particularly within their 1L year.

Cristian Cruzado ’22 and Michelle Cheaib ’22 founded the group together, connecting with Bernadette Gargano, Vice Dean for Student Affairs at the Law School, to provide services and tools to students. The group is also collaborating with the Erie County Bar Foundation.

If you’re interested in taking advantage of the society’s tools you may visit their online forum—specifically tailored to law students—to anonymously share experiences on a “purely peer-to-peer basis with respect to student’s mental health.” If you’d like to know more about the Student Wellness Society, reach out to the co-presidents Cristian Cruzado or Michelle Cheaib.

When students come to law school, they typically have at least a Bachelor’s Degree under their belt, combined with undergraduate experience that has helped prepare them for law school. But law school is a different beast, with differences in teaching methods, networking, student expectations and more. For first-generation law students—those students who aren’t just the first in their family to attend law school but any post-graduate institution—navigating law school can come with its own set of anxieties. This is where the First-Generation Law Students Association (FGLSA) comes in.

Founded in the Spring of ’21, the FGLSA has grown quickly under the leadership of Shakierah Smith ’22, and hopes to continue growing for years to come. Through their continuous work they have created a place for first-generation law students to meet likeminded and similarly situated students, while also providing tips and information to those in need. “More than anything,” their website proclaims, “FGLSA aims to show you, a first-generation law student, that there are others who have felt the same things you are feeling and found success in law school. We are a community dedicated to supporting each other in life and career”.

If you would like more information about the First-Generation Law Students Association, you can reach out to Shakierah Smith.

What Other Student Organizations Are Available at UB Law?

These two new student organizations are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the 20+ student organizations available at UB School of Law. While we won’t list out every organization here, you can find an all-encompassing list of our student organizations on our website!

Additional Resources

Photo of Lindsay Gladney.

Rachael Herbst is the Admissions Coordinator at the University at Buffalo School of Law.


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