Name: Sarah Myers
Organization: The Student Bar Association
Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri
Undergraduate institution: University of Central Florida
What are your goals as SBA president?
In light of our new online reality, my goals as SBA president have shifted to adapting all of SBA’s functions to better serve our online community. While I am still working towards making SBA more efficient, for example, through the creation of new positions, better methods of communication, and increased transparency, my focus as of late is on being as flexible as possible. SBA’s purpose is to serve the student body, and due to the uncertainty of our situation, what serves the student body today may not serve them tomorrow. For example, SBA’s Socially Distant Bulletin last semester was a great way to communicate, spread a little positivity, and provide entertainment during a time when most of us were grappling with the onset of the pandemic and the sudden change to online learning. This year, now that we have had some time to process the adjustment, SBA will take what we learned last semester and evolve our programming in a way that mirrors the new collective needs of our community.
This is especially true for the 1Ls who have had few chances to build relationships with one another outside of an online classroom setting. No matter the format, these bonds and the strong sense of community stemming from them are what make Arizona Law such a fulfilling experience. Because of this, my goal is to create opportunities for the 1Ls to start making these lifelong bonds now so that coming back to campus feels like reuniting with old friends rather than meeting new ones.
SBA’s Executive Programming Coordinator, Mea Donnelly, recently hosted a successful (i.e., fun) social event over Zoom for the 1Ls and some of our returning SBA members during orientation week. SBA is also planning a fun, online alternative to our Welcome Back Picnic. Through these events and others still in the works, I hope to show the community that we can have a little bit of normalcy just by connecting with each other, and that socializing over Zoom can be a fun alternative to face-to-face interaction.
What are you looking forward to this year?
I am looking forward to seeing how creative and innovative the SBA Executive Board will be this year as we tackle all of the changes. Last semester, SBA created a new Executive Board position, the Marketing and Outreach Coordinator (“MOC”), to manage merchandise sales and social media. Our first ever MOC, Steven Shedd, has already boosted our social media presence and is currently working on creating an online merchandise store for all to enjoy, meaning merchandise will hopefully be available online for incoming students, current students and alumni. Despite the challenges we have faced and will continue to face going forward, I look forward to treating these challenges as opportunities to grow and innovate.
What three words come to mind when you think of Arizona Law?
Community-driven, practical and inimitable
Why should students get involved with SBA (or any other student organizations)?
For 1Ls, student organizations are a great way to get involved in areas of interest early on. For those that come to law school with a particular area of law in mind, student organizations may be the only way to be involved in that area for the first year since 1L courses are predetermined. For many students, first year and beyond, student organizations are a great way to discover new interests as well, or simply to learn more about a certain topic or group. Importantly, student organizations are a way to make friends outside of the classroom. I met some of my closest friends through my involvement with SBA my 1L year.
SBA in particular is an awesome organization to join for many reasons. For dues-paying members, dues pay for themselves because of the discounts on our Trivia Night and Barristers’ Ball tickets, as well as on merchandise. Because this year will be different, we’ve reduced dues for the entire school year to $30 for all three years.
Moreover, dues-paying members have the opportunity to run for one of our many leadership roles, including delegates for each class. Through these roles, SBA members are able to build connections with peers in different classes, as well as faculty and staff. SBA is proud to have a strong, open relationship with Dean Miller and the rest of administration, and that is part of why we are so involved in different aspects of the school. Being involved with SBA also presents a unique opportunity to advocate on behalf of your peers.
Personally, SBA was the close-knit community I needed my first year of law school, and I stuck with it because I liked being able to make a difference. I have been given so many opportunities through my involvement that I would not have been given otherwise. One reason is that SBA looks great on a resume because it is a mainstay at most U.S. law schools. Although I would advise joining an organization based on interests rather than how it looks on a resume.
Do you have any advice for 1Ls?
Focus this semester on time management and seek out resources for help if needed. While managing your time effectively is important, it is even more important while we are learning online. It was an adjustment that many of us had to make last semester, so I know there are resources out there to help, including 2L and 3L students who have lived it before, like myself.
Time management is important for balancing your workload, but it is also important for setting aside time to go outside, socialize, catch up with family, etc. It is crucial to make time for these things because, above all, your mental health matters most.
Speaking of mental health, one of the easiest pitfalls to fall into 1L year is comparing yourself to someone else. There will always be someone smarter, better at cold calls, etc., but that is out of your control. All you can control is the amount of effort you put into your own work, and you deserve to be here as much as anyone. So do your best not to fall into that trap, and if you do, remind yourself that if you are doing the best you can, there is nothing else you can ask from yourself.
What do you think everyone should experience as an Arizona Law student?
Homecoming! From the parade on University to the festivities put on at the law school, it is a fun weekend that leaves everyone feeling full of school pride.
What do you think everyone should experience living in Tucson?
This one is easy for me—Tanque Verde Swap Meet. I visited during the fall of my 1L year on the advice of a local, and I’ve gone back a few times each year since. It is hard to describe but definitely worth experiencing, if anything for the street tacos. Essentially, it is a year-round outdoor flea market with carnival rides, food and drink, and other interesting experiences. I recommend going on a Friday or Saturday evening for the best selection of booths, but even if you do not plan on buying anything, it is still fun to walk around and take it all in. For those who enjoy unique Netflix shows, the Swap Meet has also been featured in an episode of Slobby’s World, a show following the eccentric owner of Generation Cool, a vintage clothing shop on 4th Ave.
Favorite restaurant in Tucson? What do you order?
If I had to choose just one, I’d say my favorite restaurant in Tucson is La Indita on 4th Ave. They have the best chips and salsa. I always switch between ordering the flautas and the puffy taco. If you’ve never tried a puffy taco (or fry bread) I highly suggest you do so while living in Tucson!
What are your future career plans?
I recently accepted a first-year associate position with Gallagher & Kennedy in Phoenix. I spent part of this past summer working for them, so I am very excited to go back next year. Although I don’t know yet what practice area I’ll be in, I particularly enjoy bankruptcy and transactional law.
Top 3 Tips for Law Students:
Stock up on at least four colors of highlighters and keep them close at all times. You never know when you’re going to need to whip them out for a quick case brief! 1Ls, if you haven’t learned this law school hack yet, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll fill you in.
This is a tip for online learning specifically—pick one “thing” you will do every time you sit down to study and it will help you get in the right mindset to focus. It may be lighting a certain candle that you only associate with studying, wearing a pair of shoes you only wear when studying, wearing socks only when studying, etc. You must immediately blow out the candle/take off the shoes or socks when you’re done. It sounds silly, but it helps in situations where it may be hard to focus because your study space is in your bedroom or kitchen where you normally aren’t studying.
Don’t be a jerk! Not only can you make some lifelong friends while you’re here, but it’s also a small legal community and word spreads quickly.