The Society Program is designed to build community within the Law School and increase student access to the faculty. There are eight societies, named for people closely associated with the Law School, such as Gloria Bradford '54, the first African American female to graduate from the Law School, and Leon Green, a 1915 graduate who was one of the Twentieth Century’s most important torts scholars.
Each Society is led by a Faculty Advisor, a Society Coordinator, and two Mentors who advise a small group of first-year students throughout the year. The Faculty Advisors work with the Society Coordinators and Mentors to plan activities for their groups. A Society is made up of approximately 50 students from each class year. Students are assigned to a Society during their first year and maintain membership in that Society throughout Law School.
The Societies engage in a wide range of public service, social, professional, and athletic activities throughout the year. Public service is an important component of the Program. Students have assisted low-income individuals in preparing their income tax returns; participated in home building with Habitat for Humanity; and prepared meals for residents at Casa Marianella, a shelter that provides housing and food to immigrants. In addition, every fall, the Societies engage in a food drive benefiting Caritas of Austin. Since initiating the drive, the law school community has donated more than 10,000 pounds of food and supplies to Caritas of Austin. Examples of social activities include boat cruises on Lady Bird Lake, an annual crawfish boil, and study breaks during final exams. Athletic activities include intramural flag football and softball, kickball tournaments, and the annual Society Games. The Society Games are held each fall at the Intramural Fields and include events such as Tug of War and relay races.
Each society is associated with a Community Fellow, who is an attorney who is highly distinguished in the legal profession and in the community. The Community Fellows meet with the students in small group settings. Community Fellows events have been held at the Law School, the Texas Supreme Court, and the State Capitol Building. The Community Fellows include U.S. District Judge Nancy F. Atlas; Senator Rodney Ellis, '79; Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson, '88; Robert Pitman, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas; UT President William C. Powers Jr.; Judge Edward C. Prado, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, '72; Harry M. Reasoner, '62, partner, Vinson & Elkins LLP; and U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal.