Public Service Recognized

Bowen Student Organization Takes Care of Community

The term [professionalism] refers to a group pursuing a learned art as a common calling in the spirit of public service – no less a public service because it may incidentally be a means of livelihood. Pursuit of the learned art in the spirit of a public service is the primary purpose.

– Roscoe Pound

As dean of the Harvard Law School, Roscoe Pound made a profound impact on legal education in the early 20th Century. His impact is still being felt, this time in central Arkansas at the UALR William H. Bowen School of Law.

HLSA members with sponsor Associate Professor Ranko Shiraki Oliver“Pound’s quote is the jumping-off point for what public service is for Bowen’s students, alumni, faculty, and staff,” Dean John DiPippa said. “Public service is pro bono work and being employed with governmental organizations, but it’s more than that.”

When attorneys – or law students – work to use their abilities, knowledge, and talents to serve the common good, DiPippa added, the public is served. For instance, an attorney can help a nonprofit organization write a charter or incorporate correctly or lawyers can seek to improve the system of justice. That’s public service.

The Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) recently named Bowen HLSA as its Law Student Organization of the Year in recognition of the group’s strong commitment to public service.

HLSA members come from as far away as California and Florida, but each of these students realize the importance of making a positive impact on their community. The organization focuses each year on providing legal information for Hispanic families in central Arkansas, but their efforts often center on providing assistance for Hispanic families in need.

“HLSA aims to provide assistance for those in our community in need,” said Bowen HLSA President Caleb Garcia. “Our efforts focus on public service to the growing number of Hispanic individuals in the state of Arkansas.”

Joe Alfaro and Caleb GarciaThough Bowen HLSA is a relatively young organization, the group has grown rapidly since it was formed in 2004. That growth – and the group’s continuing dedication to supporting the Hispanic community in greater Little Rock – shows the organization’s dedication to Bowen’s core values.

“We are incredibly proud of the students who give their time and talents to Bowen’s Hispanic Law Students Association,” DiPippa said. “They exemplify professionalism, public service, and access to justice, and their strong example for the entire community encourages us all to be better attorneys and citizens.”

During the 2010-2011 academic year alone, Bowen HLSA has worked to conduct clothing drives and raise money to help needy families in the central Arkansas community.  In addition, Bowen HLSA members led information sessions in the Spanish-speaking community that dealt with individual rights surrounding foreclosures.

Maricella Garcia, Ranko Oliver, Lauren Ferris“In addition, HLSA funded two scholarships in the past year as a result of hard work and fundraising in conjunction with Assistant Dean of External Relations Wanda G. Hoover,” said Garcia. “One of our continuing goals is to make it easier for others to follow us through law school. Our hard work will make future students’ dreams of access to justice easier to attain.”

HNBA serves as the national voice for the concerns and opinions of Hispanics in the community and in the legal profession and promotes the recruitment and retention of Hispanics in law schools and provides them with financial assistance.

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