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African-Americans Reach Out to One Another in New Alumni Group
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Common Ground
BY LARRY TEITELBAUM
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Sadie T.M. Alexander
Honoring The Legacy Of A Penn Pioneeer
Common Ground Profiles

Both Reavis and Gay want PAALAS to have the same enduring value as their Penn Law educations. So in order to build the organization for the long haul, they have consulted with leaders of black alumni groups at other major law schools for advice. One of those schools was Michigan.

The Michigan Black Alumni Law Society (MBALS), formed in 1975, has accomplished quite a bit, despite a small membership of 50 to 60 people. The group has established a scholarship fund and holds minority job fairs, seminars and panel discussions, according to Ena Weathers, MBALS president.

Her advice to PAALAS: "Be persistent. Donít be discouraged (if membership lags), because it only takes a few people to get a lot of things done."

Of more recent vintage is the Stanford Law School Black Alumni Association. Formed in spring 2004, the group is paying dividends already.

"Itís really given people a point of connection not just to alumni but to the law school,"says Charles W. Crockett, who chairs the Association. "We are beginning to see more alumni contributions to the law school, and weíre starting to see people develop business opportunities as a result (of the group)."

Gay expects PAALAS to exert a positive influence as well at Penn Law. "Weíre not trying to compete with the Law Alumni Society. As African-Americans we have similar interests and similar experiences and itís great to get together. But we also had a great time in law school with people who are not African-American. Letís not forget that."

For more information on PAALAS, please call 215-665-5670.

 
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