UF Law student selected in competitive process as liaison for ABA
Margaret Rowell Good serves as the current law student liaison for the section of state and local government law at the American Bar Association. (Photo by Nicole Safker)
By Matt Walker
As the current law student liaison for the section of state and local government law at the American Bar Association, Margaret Rowell Good (2L) has found her place in the sometimes-overwhelming 400,000-plus member organization. And she's glad she did.
"It's been a great experience so far," Good said. "The section of state and local government law is really supportive of law students and has a lot of opportunities for law students to get involved; the section has given me a number of leadership roles."
Good said that after she joined the ABA as a 1L, she would get frequent e-mails from the organization, but because of the size and scope of the ABA she didn't really know where to start or how to make the most of her membership. Then she saw a message about student liaison positions.
"I thought, 'This seems like a great way to find mentors and to network,'" Good said. She knew it was important to expand her reach beyond the law school walls and make the most of networking opportunities. A student liaison position seemed like a great way to make that happen.
Through her liaison position, Good has had the opportunity to see the many ways attorneys who specialize in state or local government can apply their knowledge — from lobbyists to state government employees to county attorneys. It is also interesting to see how different state and local governments deal with the same types of issues, she said.
Deciding on the state and local government law section was an easy choice for Good, mostly because of her involvement with the Florida Horse Park in Ocala. Good's interest and experience in state and local government — and one of her main motivations for going to law school — began at the Horse Park where she was the director of development for four years.
Because the nonprofit equestrian facility is on state-owned land, she interacted with several state agencies and learned a lot about how state and local governments operate, Good said. And in a way, Good had already made her mark on Florida state government before she even entered law school or considered applying for the student liaison position. With the help of several dedicated volunteers, she is largely responsible for the new "Discover Florida's Horses" license plates, which benefit the Florida Agricultural Center and Horse Park Authority. Good said when she worked at the Horse Park, the idea of trying to get a special license plate made for the park had been floating around for a while and she decided to act on it.
Good took the idea to the Florida Horse Park's board of trustees for approval, helped secure financing for the project, held a contest to decide on artwork for the plate and even made the trip to Tallahassee to try to get the plate legislation passed. The plate was approved by the state after Good had left the Horse Park to attend law school, but she is happy that she was able to make an impact.
Good has also accomplished a great deal during her time as an ABA member. Not the least is being chosen following a competitive appointment process to be a law student liaison to all law students in the country.
Among the notable projects Good has helped with during her tenure as liaison is developing and promoting a law student resume database for her section.
"The section leaders reasoned that if the section could figure out a way to connect members with law students, it would help our law-student members find jobs in their area of interest," Good said about the idea behind the database.
The database has been up and running for about six weeks and the biggest challenge she faces now is getting the word out to law students and potential employers.
Students can upload their resumes to the ABA section website and employers can search the database or browse resumes to find the perfect candidate.
Once her term as state and local government law school liaison ends, Good said it is likely she will pursue further opportunities in the ABA.
"State and local government law is what attracted me to pursue a law degree," Good said, "but I want to make sure I give myself opportunities to try out a lot of different areas while I am here."