In the fall semester, Javier Trujillo (24C) worked with two close friends, one in a pre-med fraternity and the other in a pre-business fraternity. Upon hearing his friends’ pre-professional opportunities, Trujillo felt that Emory University lacked many resources geared toward pre-law students. With dead-end emails to pre-law organizations and no sense of pre-law communities, he set out to change that through creating the law fraternity Phi Alpha Delta.
Phi Alpha Delta Co-Presidents Trujillo and Ben Arnoldsen Crawford (24C), along with Vice President Rebecca Schwartz (24C), began the chartering process for an Emory chapter of Phi Alpha Delta in fall 2021. The international law fraternity connects students and instructors in law with members of the bench and the bar in a fraternal fellowship designed to advance the ideals of liberty and equal justice under law, the organization’s website states.
“I started googling and found Phi Alpha Delta,” Trujillo said. “I emailed the national chapter and they gave me the checklist for me to apply for the charter. I didn’t know if this was possible because there is so much paperwork and things behind the scenes, so I reached out to Ben and Rebecca.”
The group has worked with advisor Elizabeth Dunlap, a pre-law operations assistant at Phi Alpha Delta, to get a charter at the national level. Within Emory College, the group worked with faculty sponsor William R. Kenan Professor of Philosophy John Lysaker.
Lysaker verified the potential charter’s compliance with requirements for the application, including a brief history of the University, paid membership application for at least 20 students, a letter of approval from the school’s administration and a faculty advisor.
After completing the chartering application checklists, Trujillo, Crawford and Schwartz said they are ready to submit the charter application in spring 2022 and “create a great impact” on Emory’s pre-law community.
“There is a listing of pre-law associations, but the links were dead and none of the emails worked,” Crawford said. “It seems like there may have been some sort of network in history but at this point it seems kind of dead.”
Associate Director of Pre-Law Advising Carol Riddock, who assumed the position in August 2021, noted that Emory has numerous pre-law-affiliated societies, including Emory Mock Trial, Emory Pre Law Society, Latinx Pre Law Society and Emory Black Pre Law Society. Riddock also said that the Pre-Law Advising Office provides services like individual advising, educational programming and assistance with the law school application process.
Even with these resources, some students expressed a lack of connection, community and resources while on the pre-law track.
“We do have a pre-law newsletter and I have been receiving that,” Avery Rose (25C) said. “You could sign up for an appointment with the pre-law advisor, but otherwise, it has just been silence.”
The benefits of starting a pre-law fraternity at Emory includes financial support for LSAT preparations and workshops for resume building and interviews, Trujillo said. Additionally, pre-law students will have opportunities to network with experts in the legal field, connect with their future law school’s chapter of Phi Alpha Delta and visit law schools through their partnership with the chapter.
“These fraternities also exist in graduate schools which is a great way to network,” Trujillo said. “We want to tell our students like ‘Hey, these are the opportunities we can provide for you, as a school, as a national chapter and in all the different ways we can.’”
Phi Alpha Delta has sent out an interest form and held interest meetings in the past months. Over 100 students expressed interest, and more than 30 students attended the interest meeting for running as officers.
“It demonstrates that there is something that the University lacks that people want,” Trujillo said. “There are so many people who care about this field but couldn’t do anything. We wanted to provide that opportunity.”