The Student Bar Association (SBA) is the student government at the College of Law. The SBA serves a variety of purposes, which include: representing the student body to the faculty and administration, organizing community service and academic activities, and hosting family and social events at various times throughout the year.
The SBA holds events that are designed to facilitate camaraderie and professional networking, such as: Meeting of the Minds, which brings the faculty and students together for socialization outside of the classroom, Barrister's Ball, which is the law school's formal dinner/dance, and Mel Shinn Activity Day, which pits law students and faculty in "athletic" competition. Aside from these big events, the SBA holds an annual golf scramble and routinely hosts social gatherings throughout the year.
Along with the SBA's social directives, it strives to provide services for the benefit of the community as well as the student body. Programs like Project W.I.S.H.L.I.S.T., which provides needy youngsters with warm clothes for the winter, and Canned Immunity, which combines a law student's need for a reprieve from the Socratic Method with a canned food drive to support the Lincoln Food Bank, are intended to allow the collective effort of the school aid the community at-large. In addition, SBA organizes a book sale each semester in order to help students cut costs.
Mel Shinn Day
Mel Shinn Day is an activity day for the whole law school celebrating the memory of Mel Shinn. Mel Shinn was a law graduate in the very special class of 1966, which was a group of overachievers such as Harvey Perlman, Hal Daub, and Earl Scudder, as well as many others. Mel came to the University of Nebraska from Hawaii primarily to play baseball. Sports were a continuing interest of Mel's throughout his life.
After graduating from the College of Law, Mel returned to Hawaii. He clerked in Senator Hiram Fong's office in Washington D.C. during law school. His political connections led him to being counsel to the Hawaii State Senate. He has a successful law practice and enjoyed the good life of Hawaii. Among other things, he was on his way to becoming the head of the Hawaiian Open Golf Tournament.
Mel died unexpectedly in the spring of 1979 while in the middle of a jury trial. His classmates created a fund to help support recreational activities for law students. For a few years, there was a golf tournament in memory of Mel. Due to weather and the fact that students were spread out along the course, it was decided in 1985 to have a Mel Shinn 5K race.
By 1997, the event became Mel Shinn Activity Day. Along with the popular 5K race, events such as biking, tennis and basketball, and a 5K walk, so that more students could become involved in the Day. Then bowling was added to the roster, assuring even greater participation by the students, staff and faculty. Mel Shinn is usually celebrated on a Friday in mid-September. A picnic lunch is provided by the Law College. The events start in the afternoon. There usually a $10 entry fee to participate, which includes a fantastic Mel Shinn T-shirt designed by SBA.
Coordinated by the tremendous effort and organization of the 2L Representatives, the book sales of both textbooks and study aids offer a forum for those selling their books as well as those looking for some bookstore relief. The SBA takes a 10% cut which funds various activities through the year.
Staff Appreciation Day
This event is planned as a thank you to all the staff, secretaries and administrators at the College of Law. The 1L Vice President plans an event on behalf of the student body to show appreciation for all the staff's hard work on behalf of the students during the year. This event is generally held during the spring semester.
Canned Immunity is a project sponsored by the SBA each year to collect food and other household necessities for the Lincoln Food Bank. The name describes how the project works. A first year law student called on by a professor during class can claim "immunity" from answering by holding up a can of food to donate. Containers for collecting the cans are provided by the Lincoln Food Bank and are usually located at the front of the 1L classrooms and also around the College of Law. Traditionally all of the 1L students donate a can for each class whether they are called on or not. In addition, other students, professors and staff often contribute.
The project is supervised by the 1L SBA Representatives. The 1L Reps designate one week during the first year for Canned Immunity, usually a busy week when students are finalizing one of their Legal Research & Writing projects. The Reps ask each professor teaching a 1L class for permission to allow the students in their class to claim Canned Immunity for that week. This is entirely up to the individual professor's discretion.
Organized by the 2L Vice President, this is a social gathering with dinner and an excuse to get dressed up. Also nicknamed Law Prom, it is known as one of the most fun gatherings with great food. This event is usually held in late October or early November at a ballroom location in town.
This community service project raises money for children to go Christmas shopping for themselves! Coordinated bv the 2L President, fundraising begins almost immediately with the school year and continues until November when students volunteer to help the children shop for themselves.
Meeting of the Minds
This event is an opportunity for students to socialize with the faculty and each other away from the law school. Held for the past several years at the Wick Alumni Center, the Professor of the Year is also announced at this event. This is coordinated by the 1L President.
The 3L President is responsible for working with the Dean to select the Commencement speaker. The 3L President will also give the student speech at graduation or select another graduating classmate to give the speech.
Elections are held each spring for the executive officer positions as well as for the upper class officers. Each fall, another election is held to select the 1L officers. These elections are coordinated and supervised by the Executive Vice President.
ABA Law Student Division
As part of the Law Student Division (LSD), the SBA also has responsibilities to the national LSD. The SBA President and ABA Representative are the voting member of the Assembly of the LSD, which meets annually during the ABA Annual Meeting in early August. The LSD has regional and national leadership positions which all students are encouraged to take part in. In addition to the annual meeting, the LSD meets in the fall at roundtables and each spring as a Circuit (region) to elect officers. The ABA Representative acts as official liaison between the ABA and SBA and our students. With the endorsement of the LSD, SBA plans Work-A-Day, Diversity Day, and other events throughout the year.
If you have any questions about any of these activities or would like to become involved in SBA, please feel free to contact any of the officers.
Various Social and Professional Events
Throughout the year, the officers also plan several parties, bring in speakers, and co-sponsor the events of other student organizations.
|Executive Vice-President||Dave Fuxa|
|Third Year Officers|
|Representatives & Mel Shinn Day||
Beth Levine & Sami Schmit
|Second Year Officers|
|Representatives & Book Sales||
Carey Collingham & Justin McCully
|First Year Officers|
Jared West & Josh Waltjer
|Community Justice Week Chair||
|Mental Health Week Chair||