Our student Norra Pe Benito (2L) recently represented TJSL at the annual National Law Students Workers' Rights Conference just outside of Baltimore, MD. She attended thanks to the generosity and sponsorship of conference organizers at The Peggy Browning Fund. Career Services Director Jeff Chinn asked Norra to answer a few questions about her experience attending the conference.
1) Which sessions did you attend? What did you enjoy best about the conference?
I attended the Rewards of Labor Law practice, Trade & Labor: New Models for Fair as Opposed to Free Trade, and Employee Benefits Law. I enjoyed hearing more about the real experience of people working with labor and employment law. Union organizers shared their stories and experiences about the struggles and difficulties they face to create a movement or organize a union. The attorneys shared stories about how much they enjoy serving others because they are giving a voice to employees who would otherwise feel intimidated.
2) How has this experience helped you decide what career path you want to take?
After my 1L year, I had trouble explaining which area of law interests me most. After going to the conference, I have a stronger interest in trade and labor law on an international scale. Professor Marley Weiss (University of Maryland Carey School of Law) was a great speaker and opened a discussion about how to regulate unfair labor practices on an international scale. I am more interested in international trade and labor practices now, and plan to take more courses in that area. Also, the attorneys and organizers shared a common message about their overall quality of life. Most people in this area of law feel rewarded internally because they are making a positive impact for people who have to battle against the large corporations and businesses.
3) Why should students think about applying to attend the conference in the future?
All students should apply to attend this conference because it gives law students the opportunity to meet and learn from leaders and attorneys who are representing employees, who makes up the majority of our population. Also, the conference is a great place to network on a national scale. One evening after dinner, I had the opportunity to speak with a panelist one-on-one. Because of this networking opportunity, I established a relationship with her and spent 30-45 minutes discussing the legal problems she faced while organizing a union for McDonald’s employees to push for a $15 minimum wage increase. Experiences like this are priceless and more students should take advantage of opportunities like this.