The Office of Alumni relations has been working to launch the newly formed Alumni Bar Association for over 600 attorneys who attended ACU for their undergraduate degrees.
Neal Coates, professor of political science, has worked extensively with the Alumni Office to build a database of alumni lawyers. The group, officially called the ACU Alumni Bar Association, will have its first event during Homecoming Weekend, Oct. 21-22.
Last November, the Supreme Court of Texas visited campus to hear two case, and Coates spent time gathering names of ACU grads working in the legal field to invite them to campus for the court’s visit.
“My department spent many hours preparing invitation lists,” Coates said. “It was great to hear cases and meet West Texas lawyers.”
While the court was on campus, they met with ACU lawyers and pre-law students, and this got Coates thinking about forming a more official network of alumni attorneys.
“Once the Supreme Court left, we started asking would it be possible for ACU lawyers to continue to network together and to connect with alumni currently in law school,” Coates said.
What started as a project to rejuvenate a list of ACU graduates who’ve gone onto law school turned into a much bigger project. So far, Coates has invited over 600 graduates to be part of the association.
“I’m sure there are more alumni I’ll find in the future,” Coates said.
Coates, in conjunction with Craig Fisher in the alumni office have built a board comprised of seven ACU lawyers to chair the organization.
Coates anticipates the group will host at least one continuing education event a year, and will be a network that could provide younger lawyers with clerkship opportunities with ACU attorneys who work as judges or at larger firms.
“ACU has different ways they try to encourage people ito live out the things they’ve learned at ACU,” Coates said. “And these are people who live in all continents, are involved in their churches, jobs and professional activities.”
Coates said he hopes the group will help keep graduates connected to fellow Wildcats after leaving ACU.
“We at ACU are very proud of the legal work our graduates do – for elected officials, for the poor,” Coates said. “ACU lawyers make a real difference in the world.”