Students looking to discuss lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered legal issues are in luck this week as Pepperdine’s brand new LGBT Legal Society will be holding its second meeting of the school year today at the law school.
Led by LGBT Legal Society President Jose Garcia and Vice President Kevin Dulaney the new organization will dive into current and past legal issues surrounding the LGBT community as more meetings get underway.
Organized by School of Law Dean Deanell Reece Tacha, the LGBT Legal Society was initially developed as a task force comprised of law students, faculty members, alumni and members of Pepperdine administration searching for a way to educate students and the community on LGBT legal issues.
The task force responsible for establishing the LGBT Legal Society endured a long process in order to gain approval from administration before the organization could officially operate.
Al Sturgeon, School of Law assistant dean for Student Life and director for Academic Success, took part in the developmental stages of the LGBT Legal Society.
A proposal for an LGBT organization was denied at Seaver College, which led Tacha to create the task force. The School of Law task force’s objective was to “explore whether it was possible to have a student organization at the School of Law that could discuss LGBT- related issues while staying consistent with university policy,” Sturgeon wrote in an email.
“There are many interesting fields of law, and many of our student organizations concern themselves with a specific area. LGBT- related legal issues have developed into a specific area of law that receives a significant amount of public attention- and often produces strong opinions,” Sturgeon wrote.
The new regulations in place this year for all Pepperdine affiliated clubs and organizations made establishing a new organization focused on such a touchy subject that much more difficult.
“We want to be seen as a part of the Pepperdine community,” Garcia said.
The LGBT Legal Society President believes the issues that will be discussed in the weekly forums are controversial but are relevant in law today.
Another goal Garcia is aiming to achieve is more scholarship availability for law students active in the LGBT Legal Society.
As Pepperdine’s first LGBT affiliated organization, the group wants to establish scholarship programs for students looking to pursue law careers emphasizing on LGBT matters.
The LGBT Legal Society is designed to promote career opportunities for Pepperdine law students interested in the LGBT community. Guest speakers and professors also provide networking opportunities for the members of the organization.
“Having a student organization such as the LGBT Legal Society allows our students the opportunity to engage these issues and debate the merits of the various arguments,” Assistant Dean Sturgeon wrote.
Often, firms overlook Pepperdine law graduates when they are thrown into the work force because of Pepperdine’s traditional Christian image.
“[Pepperdine law students] are missing out on job opportunities in that aspect,” Garcia said.
With the integration of LGBT legal subject matter into Pepperdine’s law program, students will now be given opportunities to expand their litigation knowledge base and become more apt to land job opportunities in the area.
“These additional networking opportunities are valuable for our students in this challenging economy,” wrote Sturgeon.
The LGBT Legal Society will hold their meeting today in Seminar Room 4 at the School of Law at 12:30 p.m.