This fall, Duke will officially become home to a chapter of Phi Alpha Delta, a national law and pre-law fraternity.
Co-founders Chinmay Amin and Max Wyatt, both sophomores, recognized the lack of a strong and active pre-law organization at Duke and hoped to form a community for their pre-law peers.
“Nobody knows the struggles of an undergraduate who's going into [a] field as said undergraduate that's going into [the] field,” Amin said. “That outlet exists in so many different areas here, with tech and business and everything, even medicine. We felt that there was a little bit of underrepresentation in law.”
While Duke offers undergraduate pre-law advising, Duke does not offer a pre-law program and few organizations cater to pre-law interests.
Duke’s Pre-Law Advising Office offers mentorship programs that pair pre-law undergraduates with alumni, as well as help with law school applications. Organizations such as Bench & Bar, Duke’s pre-law society, have been less active in the wake of the pandemic.
“I think the pre-law experience at Duke is very limited. I don’t feel like it really means a lot at Duke, especially since we don’t have a specific set of requirements,” sophomore Brian Peng said.
Peng, who is majoring in biology, also said that he doesn’t meet a lot of pre-law students in his classes.
“A pre-law society full of peers and upperclassmen is a lot less intimidating than a formal advising session,” first-year Chloe Decker said. “[PAD] would be more approachable and less intimidating to look into pre-law or get started in pre-law, especially as a first-year.”
Decker also hopes that PAD will provide LSAT tips, internship opportunities and a community for discussing relevant legal issues in the media.
Similarly, Peng expressed interest in PAD’s goal to connect pre-law students with alumni and professionals in the legal field.
While Amin and Wyatt have not confirmed PAD’s programming and events for the year, PAD’s national organization offers opportunities for discounted LSAT preparatory materials, tours of law schools, interview preparation and higher level law courses.
The duo also hopes to form connections with Duke Law and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s PAD chapters and utilize their current members and alumni as resources for pre-law students.
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“We are looking to be very inclusive and diverse in terms of both majors and mentors,” Wyatt said.
PAD’s Duke chapter conducted its first interest meeting Sept. 28. Official rush will be held in the spring and is open to first-years and sophomores.
“This community that we're going to have is truly for people that are interested in it,” Amin said. “It's not going to be a competition of who's the most business oriented or who's the best lawyer because we're undergraduates. We're not lawyers.”