Phi Alpha Delta: A Look into the Nation's Largest Co-ed Professional Law Fraternity

Since being established in 1902, Phi Alpha Delta co-ed professional law fraternity has initiated hundreds of thousands of members—lawyers, judges, senators, and past U.S. presidents being some of the most notable.  As a second-year pre-law student, I saw this organization as an excellent way to network with other motivated students and keep my ultimate career goals in focus.  Since joining just a few weeks ago, this vision has more than been fulfilled.

In only these first few weeks, I have heard a presentation from Collins Byrd, the Assistant Dean of Enrollment Management at Iowa Law, signed up for an LSAC forum in Chicago, and represented Phi Alpha Delta at the annual Iowa Law Expo.  These experiences are so valuable because they are immersive.  After speaking with law school representatives at the Law Expo, I learned that this is a crucial aspect of preparing for law school. 

Since law school is such an investment and often compounds already prevalent undergraduate loans, students need to be certain that it is their best option.  Often, the only way to obtain this certainty is getting firsthand experience or advice.  At Phi Alpha Delta chapter meetings, hearing from people in different stages of the legal profession such as law students and lawyers, has allowed me to consider how I might realistically fit into the legal sphere. 

Aside from arranging these speakers, Phi Alpha Delta also provides resources for students preparing to take the LSAT.  Whereas other students planning to take this extensive, multicomponent exam may be on their own in terms of finding prep materials at affordable prices, Phi Alpha Delta offers discounted materials and access to webinars and other events about successful test-taking practices. 

Phi Alpha Delta Fun Facts
  • Over 330,000 members worldwide.
  • 1st law fraternity to open membership to all genders, races, creeds and national origins
  • 198 Law School Chapters, 280 Pre-Law Chapters, 97 Alumni Chapters
  • 1 out of every 5 lawyers in North America is a member of Phi Alpha Delta
  • 6 Past U.S. Presidents
  • 15 U.S. Supreme Court Justices
  • 7 U.S. Attorney Generals
  • Dozens of Senators, U.S. Representatives, and U.S. State Governors.

(Courtesy of https://phialphadeltaud.wordpress.com/pad-facts/ and https://www.pad.org/about/aboutpad)

Another beneficial component is the support system that comes with being surrounded by other members who have either already taken the exam or are also preparing to do so.  These members are valuable resources in terms of knowing how to study for the LSAT, exploring study abroad options that include law, finding résumé-building jobs before going on to law school, etc.  The members that make up the executive board of UI’s chapter of Phi Alpha Delta have been approachable and more than willing to speak about their experiences in these areas.

Within the organization itself, the executive board and coordinating committees are an excellent way to gain leadership experience.  Executive positions include everything from philanthropy to public relations and give members the opportunity to plan and coordinate events. 

Phi Alpha Delta is always open to potential new members and encourages them to attend chapter meetings.  Those interested in joining should follow the organization on Twitter and Facebook to stay up to date on future meetings, held 2-3 times per month.  Once initiated, members are also required to attend at least one philanthropy and fundraising event per semester.

There are also advantages for Phi Alpha Delta alumni.  One of the most notable events is PAD day, on which Phi Alpha Delta attorneys are admitted to practice in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Joining this fraternity has already given me many valuable experiences and reassured my career path.  I am excited to utilize even more of its resources as I near graduation and apply to law school, and I know that I can lean on other members for support while doing it.  Entering competitive professions can be daunting, but organizations like Phi Alpha Delta make me confident in my ability to prepare and gain the necessary experience to be successful.

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