Professional Law Student Association

Professional Law Student Association

by Richard Velez

President, PLSA


The Professional Law Student Association was created to serve the needs of incoming and continuing law students, who were once or continue to be “Professionals” in their given fields, while entering or attending The John Marshall Law School.

Many current and incoming students who were once professionals in their given fields have voiced the difficulty of readjusting to “college” life. Students who fit this category are typically older than the majority of the student body and find it difficult to communicate with their student peers.

These students have voiced concerns in regards to forming study groups during their 1L year. Many of the older students find it difficult to connect with students who just recently finished their undergraduate degrees, and further find that they process information differently.

These students have a continued pattern of thinking within a classroom environment, which allows them to more quickly adapt to the rigorous requirements of law school. While incoming professionals, who have not been in a classroom setting in years, find it difficult to get back into that frame of mind.

As an example, I had not set foot in a traditional classroom since my graduation from the University of Texas at El Paso in 2003. I found it extremely difficult to adapt to college life, especially to the rigorous program of law studies.

During my 1L year, I did not find a support group and found it difficult to converse with my classmates about my concerns and struggles because the majority of them were 10 to 15 years younger than I was at the time and could not relate to me.

I wanted to create a law student association which could act as a support group for mature students with professional experience. As an organization, we can aid current and incoming students in adapting to the rigors of law school, listen to their concerns, give real life examples and solutions to help them succeed, and ultimately give the older students a social setting in which they can be comfortable and have a sense of belonging.

I hope to create a mentoring program; study groups geared toward specific professors and their grading methods; and a quasi “safe place” for older students to interact with each other and openly voice their concerns to individuals that cannot only identify on a personal level but can also give first-hand experience answers.

PLSA is open to all students looking to get involved. For more information, email:

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