Published May 26, 2023
Whether you’re a current law school student, or a prospective one going through the application process, you already know that it can be a struggle. The rigorous academic schedule and personal want of many students to excel can be a mental strain and/or physical burden. But some students enter this space dealing with existing struggles. Thankfully, UB School of Law offers a great variety of student groups to help students from all backgrounds and walks of life succeed both personally and academically during their time at UB Law. Today, we’re focusing on the newest addition to our student group collection: Law Students with Disabilities and Neurodivergencies. We’ll discuss the new group, and also touch on how you can get involved, join other groups, or even create your own!
When Ron LaPort ’24 (they/them) conjured the idea to create Law Students with Disabilities and Neurodivergencies, it sprung from the notion of strength in shared experiences. “It’s ok to struggle,” they said. “I want to make sure people know that.” LaPort uses a cane to assist with their spastic diplegia symptoms, but came up with the idea when speaking to another student with their own invisible disability. “They felt they could talk to me about it. There’s a camaraderie there.”
As the student group name suggests, supporting those disabled or neurodivergent scholars is the focus of the group, but it doesn’t stop there. Allies are also welcome to join. “It’s not just for people who have visible disabilities,” says LaPort. “It’s important to know that neurodiverse people don’t always present as disabled and don’t always label themselves as disabled. And some people with disabilities don’t label themselves as neurodivergent.”
The leap to law school is a big change from undergrad, and the group is built around normalizing the different struggles that people have, and presenting new coping methods to deal with and succeed in law school. “[It’s about] making sure people don’t feel alone,” says LaPort.
To keep the camaraderie and fellowship growing, the group hosts biweekly gatherings titled “Whine and Cheese” in O’Brian Hall, where they can drop in to eat cheese, drink tea and complain. “It’s an outlet,” LaPort remarks. “And sometimes that’s what people need most.” They also featured a movie night co-sponsored with the OUTLaw student group, as well as a spring semester fundraiser selling sensory tools.
Including LaPort as president, the group’s executive board also counts Isabella Jankowski ’24 (she/her) as vice president; Stephanie Burke ’24 (she/her) as event coordinator; Matthew Walker ’24 (he/him), who manages social media; and Nora Colley ’24 (she/her) as treasurer.
Law Students with Disabilities and Neurodivergencies is just one of the many growing organizations, groups and clubs at UB. With more than 25 available just at UB School of Law, there are plenty to choose from if you want to explore your co-curricular life. Here is just a short handful of student organizations you can join at UB School of Law:
The DEI Council promotes diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging among law students, as well as transparency within the administration and its procedures at the School of Law.
The First-Generation Law Students Association (FGLSA) offers support to students who identify as first-generation law students. This includes law students who are the first in their family to attend college or the first to attend professional school.
OUTLaw promotes a positive atmosphere at the School of Law for LGBT students and their allies with the primary objective to educate their colleagues about the legal issues surrounding sexual orientation and gender identity.
Parents and Law Students (PALS) was created to articulate the needs of and provide assistance to parents attending law school by hosting regular social events with the intent of creating a support network of resources and fostering an environment centered on mental & physical health and educational growth.
SWS empowers law students to address and conquer mental health issues by engaging in collaborative discussions and organized events focused on establishing a sound work-life balance.
Check out the full list of student organizations on our website!
There are a lot of great student organizations and clubs, but that doesn’t mean the list is done growing! The great variety and selection exist because students found a vacancy that needed filling and then stepped up to make it happen! If you’re interested in starting your own club, you will need to navigate through both University Recognition and the Student Bar Association. Here are the steps to follow:
Why not take this opportunity to discover all the fabulous student organizations the School of Law has to offer and perhaps look to join one. Who knows, maybe you’ll even get the ambition to start your own!