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July 12, 2004

Press Contact: Kirston Fortune, UT Law, (512) 232-1229, Jodi Bart, UT Law, (512) 471-7330

UT Law Announces New Society System for First-Year Students

Senior Lecturer David Simon Sokolow Named Director of Student Life

Photo of David Simon Sokolow David Simon Sokolow
Director of Student Life

AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas at Austin School of Law announced Monday the creation of eight societies for first-year students. This program is designed to foster a stronger sense of community among students and to further improve student access to UT Law faculty members. David Simon Sokolow, one of UT Law's most popular instructors, has been named Director of Student Life, and Allyson Childs, a 1995 graduate of UT Law, has been hired as Director of Student Programs.

"UT Law has the advantages that only a big law school provides—a diverse faculty, an extensive set of electives, an extensive alumni network, and the opportunity to meet many other students. This new society system helps us strike a better balance with the feel of a small community. We hope that every student will feel that they belong to a group, that faculty members are looking out for them, and that there are student mentors and administrators with whom they can talk when they need help. Under David's leadership and with Allyson's help, I feel confident that these new societies will make significant improvements to our students' lives," said Dean Bill Powers.

The first year class has traditionally been divided into four sections of students each with between one hundred to one hundred twenty students. This year each section will be further divided into two societies of approximately sixty students each. Each society will have a faculty advisor and a student program coordinator selected by the faculty advisor. (A diagram is provided below.)

Each society will be further divided into two smaller groups of approximately thirty students each. Each of these mentor groups will have a student mentor to coordinate social, athletic, and pro bono activities.

This year the societies will be named for individuals who have made a significant impact on UT Law. The eight societies will be called:

Gloria K. Bradford Society, honoring the first African-American female to graduate from UT Law (1954)
Carlos Cadena Society, honoring a summa cum laude graduate of UT Law, a respected judge, and a civil rights crusader
Leon Green Society, a 1915 graduate who was one of the Twentieth Century's most important tort scholars and a leading figure in American Legal Realism
Helen Hargrave Society, honoring UT Law's longtime librarian and the School's first female faculty member
Gus Hodges Society, honoring a highly popular professor who used his experience to earn the respect of the legislature, bench, and bar
Charles McCormick Society
, honoring a former dean who was nationally known for his contributions in federal procedure, damages, and evidence
Alice Sheffield Society, honoring the successful Gulf Oil attorney who was one of UT Law's first female graduates (1918)
John Sutton Society, honoring a longtime professor of evidence and professional responsibility and former dean known for his collegiality

Faculty advisors for the eight societies will be Lynn Blais, John Dzienkowski, Susan Klein, Tom McGarity, Jordan Steiker, Wendy Wagner, Guy Wellborn, and Patrick Woolley.

Professor Sokolow, who will step into the new role as Director of Student Life, will continue to teach in the areas of contracts, corporations, and entertainment and art law. Sokolow, a two-time winner of the Texas Exes Teaching Excellence Award, clerked for the Honorable Thomas Gibbs Gee of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and worked for Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in New York before joining the Texas faculty in 1981. He graduated from Columbia College and Columbia Law School, and holds graduate degrees in art history (Columbia) and business administration (UT-Austin). His recent articles include, "Fiduciary Duty à la Lyonnais: An Economic Perspective on Corporate Governance in a Financially Distressed Firm" (Journal of Corporation Law, 1996).

Allyson Childs will be Director of Student Programs. In this capacity, Childs will act as a counselor and advocate for students and will work with Sokolow to coordinate society programs. Childs is an honors graduate of UT Law (1995), the Johns Hopkins University, and Hockaday School. She worked for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C., and the Australian Stock Exchange in Sydney, Australia, before relocating to Austin.



Diagram of the new First Year Society
   structure