The range of extracurricular activities and student organizations within the University of Wisconsin Law School reflects the diverse and varying interests across the student body. UW Law students are active in many organizations, from professional groups to intramural sports and more. If there isn't an organization that suits your particular needs and interests, we encourage you to start one!
The Law School may provide funding to support educational events or travel for members of student organizations. In the past, the Law School has funded law journal symposia, travel to moot court and mock trial competitions, student pro bono projects, and wellness events. The process for requesting law school funding for student-hosted events or travel is centralized in the J.D. Grants Committee. That committee reviews applications for funding six times each year. For information, deadlines, and required forms, see the J.D. Grants Committee webpage.
Student Bar Association (SBA)
The University of Wisconsin Law School Student Bar Association is the representative organization for the law school's student body. We represent students in dealing with the faculty and administration. Our goal is to make the law school the best place it can be by providing a number of services and resources for the law students.
The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy is a national organization of law students, law professors, practicing lawyers and members of the community. We want to help revitalize and transform legal debate, from law school classrooms to federal courtrooms.
ALSA provides academic, career and social support to its members by sponsoring activities, working with the Law School faculty and administration, collaborating in efforts of other student organizations, and acting as a forum for addressing concerns of Asian Americans.
The University of Wisconsin Black Law Students Association (UWBLSA) is a chartered member of the National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA) which exists to serve the educational, social and professional interests of Black law students across the country.
Business & Tax Law Association (BATLAW)
The University of Wisconsin Business & Tax Law Association promotes and enhances the study and practice of business and tax law. The BTLA also encourages high standards of academic achievement as well as social interaction with other law students, faculty, and the professional community. Several faculty members and some of the largest law firms in Wisconsin are included in BTLA's membership.
The Children's Justice Project brings together people interested in promoting justice for children and juveniles, including the rights of children and juveniles in the legal, educational, health care, and social services systems. The Project does this through interdisciplinary advocacy and study.
Christian Legal Society (CLS)
CLS is a small, informal, interdenominational group of students who meet on a regular basis for bible study, "roundtable" exchanges on various topics, not necessarily Law School related, and most importantly, fellowship.
Environmental Law Society (ELS)
The Environmental Law Society welcomes all students interested in the application of law to environmental issues at the state, national, and international levels. The Society studies all sides of the issues because it recognizes that environmental law applies to both those interested in classic environmental preservation, as well as persons whose activities create environmental impacts.
The UW Law School's chapter of the Federalist Society is a group of conservatives and libertarians interested in the current state of legal order. It is founded on the principle that the separation of governmental powers is central to our Constitution, and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be.
The Health Law Student Association provides resources, networking opportunities, and a forum to discuss legal issues for students interested in health and public health law. We seek to prepare our members for careers in these fast-growing fields.
ILSA is an organization which provides a forum for discussion and dissemination of current Indian Law topics. Anyone with an interest in Indian Law is invited to become a member. ILSA also provides support to its members by maintaining study groups, and assisting with job searches. Through its annual Coming Together of the Peoples Conference, ILSA provides ongoing outreach to the U.W. community and the legal community at large.
The Intellectual Property Students Organization has been formed to convey to all interested law students the field of Intellectual Property Law. Its primary purpose is to provide topical seminars, discussions, and other events relating to Patent, Copyright, and Trademark Law.
Jewish Law Students Association (JLSA)
JLSA works to maintain a social, cultural and religious Jewish presence at the University of Wisconsin Law School. JLSA membership and activities are open to all law students. Our activities include lectures, community service projects, networking events, holiday observances, fundraisers and social outings.
JD Student Veterans Club (SVC)
The JD Student Veterans Club seeks to provide information and support to Wisconsin Law School students who have served in the United States Armed Forces, wish to serve, or are interested in learning more about military opportunities in the law.
The Labor and Employment Student Association is an organization meant to help those interested in a career in labor and/or employment law. The organization strives to accomplish this through guest speakers and hands on legal work through local law firms and community organizations that deal with labor and employment issues.
The Latino/a Law Student Association encourages and promotes the discussion of Latino issues.
The Law School Wellness Coalition seeks to raise awareness and reduce stigma surrounding student well-being and to advocate for policies that provide support for any physical, social, or psychological challenges students may face.
Legal Assistance for Disaster Relief matches UW law students with volunteer opportunities at non-profit legal aid firms in areas throughout the country that have been impacted by natural disasters.
Maritime Law Society (MLS)
The Maritime Law Society seeks to supplement the education and experience of members of the law school. There are many facets of maritime law such as international law, norms, treaties, admiralty, domestic regulations, and others. The University of Wisconsin MLS provides a focus on Wisconsin maritime law, such as its constitutionally guaranteed Public Trust Doctrine (Art. IX, § 1), and international maritime law, such as international piracy. With such a vast field of study, we welcome all law students, regardless of prior knowledge.
The Middle Eastern Law Students Association seeks to promote greater understanding of Middle Eastern cultures, politics and legal institutions. The group is designed to serve as a discussion forum for students of Middle Eastern descent as well as those interested in the region to exchange ideas and opinions. MELSA hosts a variety of educational events including, colloquia, political discussions, and documentary and other films highlighting the social and political dynamics of the Middle East. MELSA also hosts a number of social outings including dinners and parties featuring Middle Eastern cuisine and music. The group welcomes anyone with an interest in the Middle East to join.
National Lawyers Guild (NLG-UW)
The National Lawyers Guild is an association dedicated to the need for basic change in the structure of our political and economic system. We seek to unite the lawyers, law students, legal workers and jailhouse lawyers of America in an organization that shall function as an effective political and social force in the service of the people, to the end that human rights shall be regarded as more sacred than property interests.
Much of the work of this group involves pledge drives and fund-raising to provide scholarships for students to work on public interest law issues. PILF has also created a Loan Repayment Assistance Program.
QLaw (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Law Students)
QLaw is a student organization dedicated to serving the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community at the University of Wisconsin Law School. QLaw strives to make the UW Law School a more open, hospitable, and welcoming environment for LGBT students through collaboration with the administration and other student organizations. QLaw seeks to educate the law school community by increasing LGBT visibility and raising awareness of issues that affect us while providing support and networking opportunities for LGBT law students. QLaw aims for a diverse organization that reflects the composition of the larger community of LGBT people and their allies. Everyone is welcome to participate.
Society for Education Law and Policy (SELP)
SELP exists to provide a forum for students, faculty, staff, and community members to discuss, explore, and engage issues in education law and policy. Moreover, SELP aims to promote the achievement of equity in public education; to inspire future leaders and education reformers to work toward closing the achievement gap, ending the cycle of poverty, and fostering acceptance of all students regardless of ability of social identity, and to encourage students and professionals in law, education, and related fields to work collaboratively.
The objective SLS is to educate students to serve the growing air and space industry and integrate dissimilar cultures and economies as the planet shrinks in result of these goals. SLS hosts educational and recreational activities to explore human activities in space as governed by international and federal legislation.
The Sports and Entertainment Law Society is an organization that programs panels, events, and educational and networking opportunities in order to promote a better understanding of sports and entertainment law by students at the University of Wisconsin Law School. This society seeks to build a bridge between University of Wisconsin Law Students and others who can offer academic and career advice in the Sports and Entertainment Law sectors.
State & Local Government Law Society (SLoG Law)
The State & Local Government Law Society is a law student organization that provides students interested in state and local government law with opportunities to further their knowledge of these subjects and to advance their careers.
UW Law's Student Animal Legal Defense Fund works to educate future lawyers about the needs of animals (non-human) and their human companions in our legal system. The group hosts speakers, presents movie screenings and alerts the UW community to animal welfare issues in Madison and beyond.
The TAA is the labor union representing all graduate student workers at UW Madison (TAs, PAs, RAs, GAs, and Fellows). We are the oldest graduate employee union in the world. Organizing began in 1966 and the first contract with the university was completed in 1970. Joining the TAA increases the union’s negotiating strength and builds solidarity in our community. Only a strong union can advocate effectively for graduate student interests and workplace rights both on campus and in the statehouse, and protect graduate employees from excessive workloads, harassment, discrimination, and retribution.
Unemployment Compensation Appeals
The Unemployment Compensation Appeals Clinic is a Wisconsin non-stock corporation that is staffed by volunteer student advocates who assist clients in obtaining unemployment compensation benefits. Student advocates work closely with supervising attorneys. Students do not receive academic credit for their work, but they gain litigation and case management experience while helping those in need of benefits who cannot afford representation.
The Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is committed to promoting the proper administration of criminal justice, fostering and maintaining integrity, independence and expertise of criminal defense lawyers, and promoting the protection of individual rights and due process. We are affiliated with the professional chapter and provide a a mentorship program with criminal defense attorneys in the Madison community.
The Wisconsin International Law Society provides a forum for people and ideas involving international legal issues by getting together experts in diverse fields for informal discussion and cordials. WILS also invites students from several continents to join in the exploration of fine Madison publications.
The Women's Law Student Association sponsors a variety of activities for all women studying at the UW Law School. WLSA tries to make the time spent in Law School more interesting and more humane. WLSA presents several speakers, lobbies for women faculty hiring, produces a monthly newsletter, sends members to the National Women and the Law Conference, and much more.
Three student journals provide invaluable training in legal research and writing:
The Wisconsin Law Review is a student-run journal of legal analysis and commentary that is used by professors, judges, practitioners, and others researching contemporary legal topics. The Law Review, which is published six times each year, includes professional and student articles, with content spanning local, state, national, and international topics. In addition to publishing the journal, the Law Review sponsors an annual symposium at which leading scholars debate a significant issue in contemporary law. Students earn membership on the Law Review through a writing competition at the end of their first year.
Established in 1982, the Wisconsin International Law Journal is written by both professionals in the field and by law students. The student-edited journal offers articles of scholarly and practical interest in various areas of international law. Student members of the journal edit articles of scholarly and practical interest in various areas of international law and draft articles for submission and possible publication. Each spring, the Journal staff coordinates a conference on recent topics of interest in international law.
Open to all students, the Wisconsin Journal of Law, Gender & Society is a student-edited journal, national in scope, which publishes contributions from students, teachers, and practitioners. Established in 1985, this journal publishes contributions from faculty, students, and practitioners on a wide-range of legal topics. Its focus is on scholarship that examines the intersection of law and gender with issues of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation.
Moot Court & Mock Trial Programs
Moot court and mock trial competitions at the University of Wisconsin Law School provide outstanding opportunities for students to gain experience with brief writing and oral advocacy. Students learn practical skills and work as a team to present their case.
The Moot Court Program is a mock appellate advocacy program. First-year students are selected for moot court through competitive tryouts in the spring of their first year. The Moot Court Board organizes, promotes, and supports the intramural and intercollegiate moot court competitions, and annually sends dozens of UW law students to competitions at law schools across the country. Each spring, the Law School also hosts the Evan A. Evans Competition, a moot court event in which students from around the country argue a constitutional law case.
Mock Trial gives students the opportunity to try a lawsuit in regional and national competitions against teams from other law schools. The teams are coached by experienced litigators from the Law School and practicing bar.
The Wisconsin International Commercial Arbitration (ICA) fosters the study of international commercial law and arbitration to resolve international business disputes. The group recruits, trains, and prepares participants for two annual competitions, one in Vienna, Austria and another in Hong Kong, China.
The Dean's Cup
The University of Wisconsin Dean's Cup is an annual competition between the students of the University of Wisconsin Medical School and Law School. The purpose of the competition is to foster camaraderie between the two schools and to give back to the community through local charities. Dean's Cup events span the spectrum of competition, from basketball, golf and ultimate, to euchre, chess and "bar trivia." More importantly, the schools compete in a food drive supporting the Salvation Army, a blood drive through the American Red Cross, and T-shirt sales, proceeds from which are donated to the Dane County Rape Crisis Center, and the Ronald McDonald House of Madison.
Join QLaw this spring for a reception and benefit held in conjunction with the University of Wisconsin Law School's Community Justice Week and Admitted Students Weekend.
Each Homecoming, tens of thousands of Badger football fans watch in mystified amusement as a herd of third year law students rush across the football field wearing bowler hats and carrying canes. The mystery deepens when the group reaches the north goalposts and the canes are thrown into the air. Tradition holds that if they catch their canes, they will win their first cases. Check out the main link for more about this unusual tradition.
Each year our current students, faculty and alums from across the country gather for the LEO Banquet to celebrate its successes and reaffirm the commitment to maintaining one of the most interesting and dynamic learning environments in the country.