A group of female Rutgers students has started an organization called the Rutgers Women’s Pre-Law Society (RUWPLS) with the aim of empowering future female lawyers.
The organization’s goal is to provide female students with support for a potential career in law and help them develop the skills they need to face various obstacles, said the founder and president Emily Salamon, a School of Arts and Sciences junior. The organization also works with non-binary students.
“The obstacles that female lawyers face are unique, and we want to provide an encouraging environment where members can feel free to share their ideas, questions and challenges,” she said.
As of 2019, there is a gender gap in law with 19.6 percent of equity partners and 30.5 percent of non-equity partners being women. In addition, more than half of women working in law have seen or experienced sexual harassment during their career, Salamon said.
“While there are strong legal clubs at Rutgers, no (Rutgers) club has as its mission to ensure women’s equity in the field of law, despite the challenges on the road ahead,” she said. “Our club directly ensures that members feel prepared and supported entering a job in the law.”
The organization focuses on advancing professional goals and learning from alumni and guest speakers, as well as utilizing experienced female faculty mentors to better prepare Rutgers women for the legal profession, Salamon said. The RUWPLS plans to hold workshops on different topics and discuss struggles faced by women and how to combat them.
Salamon said seven other female students have joined the RUWPLS executive board so far and helped the organization run smoothly. The board has started a monthly newsletter, drafted a constitution, located community service opportunities and marketed the club through Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.
“Our goal would be that there always be a home base for women interested in the law here at Rutgers, long after this (executive board) has graduated,” Salamon said. “We have made great progress, but the treatment of female lawyers is not equal to that of the treatment of our male counterparts. Until it is, we hope organizations such as this one will stand to educate and support women on their journeys into the field of law.”
The group is currently awaiting approval from the getINVOLVED board to become official, she said. The club is currently recruiting new members through social media platforms like Instagram or Facebook.
“We want Rutgers students to know that this group is open to everyone, there is a place on campus for you to go where your unique struggles will be heard and listened to,” Salamon said. “This organization is for advancing your professional goals as well as getting to listen to impressive guest speakers, but more so than that, it is for empowering each other.”