The University of Miami School of Law’s Society of Bar and Gavel will welcome new members at its semiannual initiation on Sept. 29.
“The Society of Bar and Gavel is an honors society that recognizes students who contribute in four domains: service, character, attitude and leadership,” said Leah Weston, secretary of the society. “We look for students who selflessly contribute to the betterment of campus and the community.”
“The society was established in 1949 and is considered the highest honor attainable for UM law students,” President Pauline Green said.
Bar and Gavel members are involved in a variety of campus events like the Bar and Gavel sponsored Canes Carnival, an on-campus carnival for local elementary school children, and Race Judicata, a 5-kilometer run through the UM campus.
“We want to remind people that an attorney’s duty is to serve the community,” Green said. “Accepted applicants will be tapped on campus and brought to the private initiation event.”
“The initiation process is a celebration of the achievements of our members, a reflection on the duties associated with being a leader and a reminder of our interests in public service,” Green said. “It’s funny. We say, ‘interest in’ public service or ‘interest in’ leadership, but I think in fact it’s just a part of who we are.”
Law students are invited to apply or to nominate their classmates.
Members are looking for applicants who uphold the four tenants of Bar and Gavel.
“Some students are really involved with the community, others in the profession,” said Dean Marni Lennon, faculty adviser to the society. “Each applicant has a different recipe, but it’s all about their dedication to service.”
Both tangible and intangible qualities of leadership are considered in the applicants.
“People focus on traditional markers of leadership, such as named leadership positions,” Weston said. “But the intangible things, like how someone handles themselves in difficult situations or just always being friendly, are what we look for in an applicant.”
Applications are reviewed by all 20 members of Bar and Gavel, rather than just the executive board, according to Green.
“It’s a collective selection process,” Weston said. “Every member has a say in recognizing our peers, just as we were recognized.”
“It’s really important for [members] to get to know all of the applicants,” she said. “Students are students. They’re motivated by being connected to people.”