We get it. As the regulator of the legal profession and administrators of the dreaded bar exam, most law students probably don’t give much mind—nor want to—to whatever it is that goes on in the Washington State Bar Association.
Of course, the WSBA does much, much more than deal in discipline and demonstrated knowledge of the law. And every year, the bar partners with law student representatives from the three law schools in our state. These representatives serve a unique and important function as liaisons who share with their classmates the programs and services offered by the WSBA, and who illuminate the WSBA about issues facing today’s law students—soon to become tomorrow’s legal professionals.
Meet the 2019-20 law school representatives below. To find other tools and information the WSBA makes available to law students, check out the Law Students page and scroll down to Resources for Law Students.
Darrias Sime, representative from Seattle University School of Law
Shared suffering can be a sure way to build unbreakable bonds, and there are few voluntary institutions of collective suffering quite like law school. Darrias Sime, in his 1L year at Seattle U Law, found the positive side of shared law school pain.
“My favorite moments from 1L year are spending long hours in a room with classmates reviewing and studying materials from our various classes in preparation for finals in the fall and spring,” Sime said. “Struggling together as a group, rather than by myself, created a unique bond and experience between each individual.”
As the school’s new WSBA representative, Sime plans to use the position to further build relationships and networks for his classmates and himself.
“The most critical issues for law students today are managing finances, gaining valuable work experience for their future practice, and creating a sufficient support system,” he said.
Students face not only the financial burden of their education, but even new challenges in the long-held struggle to balance the job of a lawyer with the sometimes equally intense job of trying to remain a functional, healthy adult.
“[W]ith the pace of change in society and the vast amount of information that becomes available, a lawyer may become consumed by their work and the search for the right answer or support for their answer,” Sime said. Fortunately, he went on, Seattle U Law is a school that values community and peer support. It’s also a school where students draw pride from a shared dedication to social justice issues and in developing holistically as legal academics and future lawyers.
Sime can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Gurpreet K. Dhatt, representative from Gonzaga School of Law
Now a 3L at Gonzaga, Gurpreet K. Dhatt is actually serving a second year as a WSBA law school representative. (See what Dhatt said last year about her experience.)
Back again as a representative, Dhatt is continuing to provide support and information to her Gonzaga classmates to keep them knowledgeable of opportunities and events that will help their professional development. In her 2L year, she had the opportunity to get “involved with the Multicultural Law Caucus and helping to put together a panel of local lawyers of color to discuss cultural competency” and plans to secure a job this year to “make the most of my last year of school.”
“I chose to go to law school so I could help others in my community,” Dhatt said. “I would love to show the people in my community that the law is not something to be afraid of and can be a useful tool.”
With her remaining time in school, Dhatt hopes to address the most significant issues facing law students—and, indeed, practicing lawyers.
“Mental health, addiction, and student debt are some of the most critical issues for law students today,” Dhatt said. “Students know that these are potential issues that they face as they graduate from school; however, many feel enough is not being done to address these issues.”
Dhatt said Gonzaga is well positioned to help tackle these problems through its commitment “to educating the whole person to serve the public good.”
Dhatt can be reached at email@example.com.
Shweta Jayawardhan, representative from University of Washington School of Law
Shweta Jayawardhan began a career in local government, but found that without a legal skillset she wasn’t able to affect as much change as she’d hoped.
“I went to law school so I could make a greater impact in helping individuals and businesses with their challenges,” Jayawardhan said.
As a 1L, Jayawardhan enjoyed forming a study group. As a WSBA representative for UW Law she wants to continue in that vein of developing personal and professional networks by informing UW Law students of opportunities available to them, as well as building the WSBA’s presence on campus to introduce more students to opportunities and events the bar offers.
In her 2L year, Jayawardhan plans to continue connecting with other “interesting attorneys” and to attend WSBA section events.
“I look forward to working collaboratively with Seattle attorneys to shape Seattle’s growth,” Jayawardhan said.
But in the more immediate future, Jayawardhan and other law students face the shared burden of student loans after graduation, but also a shared fear that there will be fewer available legal jobs waiting once they’re done with school and passing the bar exam. Still, Jayawardhan is hopeful, in part, because of the mission and drive UW Law instills in its students.
“UW students are dedicated to making positive change in their communities,” Jayawardhan said. “They have a diverse range of career goals. They are critical thinkers and academically curious.”
Jayawardhan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.