Welcome to the Australian Law Students’ Association (ALSA). On behalf of the Executive let me welcome you to the national peak representative body for law students. You might not know it, but as a law student you are automatically a member of ALSA. That means that all the services and opportunities associated with ALSA belong to you, and I invite you seize each opportunity and get involved.
At ALSA, your interests are represented by your own university’s Law Students’ Society (LSS), which forms part of the ALSA Council. Now, you are more than likely asking yourself, “How is ALSA different to my own university LSS, and what exactly does ALSA do for me?”
ALSA is slightly different to your traditional LSS, in that as a national representative body, one of our primary roles is to act as a lobbyist for Australian law student interests. ALSA carries out this role through a number of channels, including making submissions to governments, universities and other stakeholders, and by maintaining relationships with bodies such as the Law Council of Australia (LCA) and the Council of Australian Law Deans (CALD). The ALSA team ensures that where issues require a unified and national response, ALSA has significant weight in its ability to negotiate with other organisations where the individual LSSs would not have a substantial voice.
ALSA is run by an elected Executive and Committee, who consult with the individual LSSs around Australia in order to determine the critical issues facing law students at any given moment. These range from traditional education matters such as funding, assessment policies or scholarship opportunities, to career issues, such as seasonal clerkship guidelines, requirements for admission and non-corporate opportunities.
ALSA delivers a number of services directly to students where there are synergies in doing so at a national level. Our primary event is the annual ALSA Conference (held in July), which brings together over 600 law students from Australia and New Zealand for the national finals of legal competitions. In addition, the Conference hosts ALSA Council meetings, Australian Legal Education Forums (ALEF) and plenty of fun times. It is the largest law student event in Australia, and one of the largest student-run conferences annually. This year, Conference will be hosted in Melbourne from 9 – 16 July 2012 and is set to be an un-missable event on every law students’ calendar!
ALSA also maintains a number of publications focused on all Australian law students, including the Academic Journal, International Careers Guide, Global Scholarships Guide, and Judges Associates Handbook. In addition, ALSA produces a biannual flagship publication, the ALSA Reporter; and a newsletter, ALSA Monthly. These publications are intended to be of benefit to Australian law students and supplement the publications provided by individual LSSs.
KNOWLEDGE SHARING FOR LAW STUDENTS’ SOCIETIES
ALSA provides a knowledge-sharing forum to assist the LSS on your campus to be the best it can be. This forum is the ALSA Council, which comprises of the President and an ALSA Representative from each of the 30+ law student societies nationwide. The ALSA Council meets three times a year, and the most important parts of these meetings are knowledge- sharing workshops, seminars and breakout groups, which allow ideas to be shared and taken back home. The ALSA Education team also gathers data from law schools around Australia on issues in legal education, which can then be distributed and used by individual LSSs in their own education roles.
2012 is an exciting year for ALSA. We are forming closer ties with those who are responsible for shaping our education and the law, and that provides us with a better chance to achieve our policy goals. We are working hard to link with smaller law schools and provide them with the support they need while fostering an environment that is relevant to large LSSs.
You will find more information about all of ALSA’s activities by browsing our website at www.alsa.net.au. Many useful resources are also available for Law Students’ Societies through the LSS Login. If you want more information or are interested in becoming involved in ALSA, please contact the relevant ALSA Executive or Committee member, or myself directly.
Best of luck in your studies and other endeavors in 2012 and I hope to see you at Conference.