Two years ago, I was thrust into a leadership role in a student group called Legal Launch Pad at Michigan State University College of Law. This was not something that I sought out, but I believed in the mission of the group and wanted the group to continue. When Professor Carla Reyes who runs the Center for Law, Technology & Innovation approached me with the idea of having a book club, I thought it would be a great idea. I was a bit concerned about garnering participation among students though. With class schedules, clinics, and internships vying for attention, it can be difficult to find a time that works for everyone who wants to participate.
As I was considering the problem, it occurred to me that one area that I have found lacking for law students is the opportunity to interact with those in the profession.* Although I have found a great community of legal professionals on Twitter, many students shy away from socializing professionally on social media. The idea for an online book club that could be open to students and legal professionals began to grow. I believed that having a safe platform and a common interest could foster those interactions in an interesting way.
When put to Twitter, many suggested Zoom as a platform. However, the same issues that make it difficult to find a convenient time for students makes it even more of a challenge for professionals. So, I again looked at options. Students suggested Discord, but my experiences with that platform were less than ideal. Of the platforms that I interact with regularly, I have found that Slack is reliable, easy to use, and can be available any time. Thus, I made the decision and the new Legal Launch Pad Book Club Slack channel was born.
As I set up the channel on Slack, it occurred to me that the platform could also be a place to post jobs, career related questions, people to follow, and so much more. Seeing the channel grow and the interest there has been makes the effort worth the time it has taken.
Within a week or so of creating the channel, I was able to provide information about a job to someone who was looking for a position. There is no better feeling than seeing something that you believe in actually work in the way it was intended.
*This is a difficult task and I am not criticizing school efforts on this front. In fact, I have written about one such event here.