The Student Bar Association (SBA) is a self-governing organization with a council composed of a president, three vice-presidents (academic affairs, community affairs, and public service), a treasurer, a secretary, six representatives from each of the three classes, at least one graduate student representative, and one transfer representative, elected by various constituencies of the student body or the student body at large. The association acts generally for the student body in Law School matters. The officers and council of the association appoint the student members of various Law School committees. These committees play an important role in the governance of the Law School, and they work to ensure representation of student views in this process. The officers meet regularly with the Deans to discuss issues on behalf of students.
The Law School may provide funding to support educational events or travel for members of student organizations. In the past, for example, 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.
A wealth of student interest organizations provide outstanding opportunities to explore your interests with your fellow students, including:
- Advocates for Immigrants' Rights
- Advocate's Society
- Asian Law Students Association (ALSA)
- American Constitution Society (ACS)
- Black Law Students Association (BLSA)
- Business and Tax Law Association (BATLAW)
- Children’s Justice Project (CJP)
- Christian Legal Society (CLS)
- Environmental Law Society (ELS)
- Federalist Society
- Health Law Students Association (HLSA)
- Indigenous Law Students Association (ILSA)
- Intellectual Property Students Organization (IPSO)
- JD Student Veterans Club
- Jewish Law Students Association (JLSA)
- Labor and Employment Student Association
- Latino Law Students Association (LLSA)
- Law and Advocacy for Racial Justice (LAARJ)
- Law Student Wellness Coalition
- Law Students with Disabilities Coalition
- Legal Assistance for Disaster Relief (LADR)
- Maritime Law Society
- Middle Eastern Law Student Association (MELSA)
- National Lawyers Guild - Student chapter (NLG)
- QLaw (Queer Law Students Association)
- Socialist Law Students of Wisconsin (SocLaw)
- Society for Education Law and Policy (SELP)
- Space Law Society
- Sports and Entertainment Law Society (SELS)
- State and Local Government Law Society (SLOG)
- Student Animal Legal Defense Fund (SALDF)
- Technology Law Student Association (TLSA)
- Unemployment Appeals Clinic (UAC)
- Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (WACDL)
- Wisconsin International Law Society (WILS)
- Wisconsin Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF)
- Women's Law Students Association (WLSA)
Student organizations that plan to seek funding from the Student Bar Association must be registered as campus organizations. Online registration is available through the URL listed above. Registration commits student organizations to follow campus policies such as the non-discrimination policy and is a requirement for exemption from paying state sales taxes on purchases.
Campus Regulation of Student Organizations
Student organizations are subject to campus rules for organizations. Every student organization must register with the Student Organizations Office for the Madison campus. Registration must be renewed each year. Being a “registered student organization” is a prerequisite for seeking organizational funding from the Student Bar Association, from the Law School, and from other campus organizations or funds. Registering also allows an organization to have a bulletin board at the Law School and a University-hosted web page. For information about the Student Organization Office, the registration process and rules that govern student organizations on campus, see UW Student Organization Registration 101.
There are three student journals that give students an opportunity to assist with and contribute to the Law School’s scholarly publications. These publications provide invaluable training in legal research and writing.
The Wisconsin Law Review is edited and published by law students. It has two primary purposes. First, it is a vehicle for scholarly legal research and commentary. Attention is devoted to special problems of Wisconsin law, where the Law Review can make unique contributions, and to national and international legal problems. Attorneys, judges, and law professors contribute articles. Second, it is an educational medium. A substantial portion of each issue contains student research. Students are admitted to the Law Review by competing in a writing competition at the end of the first year.
The Wisconsin International Law Journal, established in 1982, is written both by professionals in the field and by law students. 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.
The Wisconsin Journal of Law, Gender & Society, open to all students, is a student-edited journal, national in scope, which publishes contributions from students, teachers, and practitioners. This journal, established in 1985, combines the University of Wisconsin’s “law in action” tradition with the interdisciplinary nature of women’s studies. Articles on all legal topics are considered, including corporate, environmental, and criminal law issues, as well as family law.
Moot Court competitions at the University of Wisconsin Law School provide an outstanding opportunity 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 University of Wisconsin Moot Court Board organizes, promotes, and supports intramural and intercollegiate moot court competition, and annually sends 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.
First year students try out for the moot court board in the spring of the first year. The Heffernan class in the spring gives second year students, including transfer students, an opportunity to join the moot court board and compete during the third year.
The Mock Trial team gives students an opportunity to improve their oral advocacy skills while working with fellow students. Teams are coached by experienced attorneys from the Law School and the community and compete in national and regional competitions. Tryouts for the Mock Trial team are held in spring semester. Students in the first and second year classes are eligible to try out to join the team in the succeeding year.