Running from the law
If you see a group of law students – and maybe a few professors – running away from the law school, it’s not a mass exodus. It’s just Running with Lidsky – and they’ll be back.
On Friday afternoons, Stephen C. O’Connell Chair and Professor of Law Lyrissa Lidsky’s group of law school runners can be seen circling Lake Alice a little after 2 p.m. during fall and spring semesters, forging connections with each other and maybe blowing off a little steam from the previous week.
Lidsky – who started the weekly running club in the fall of 2008 – said the weekly runs have been more rewarding than she ever expected them to be. As her schedule became increasingly busy over the years, it was becoming more difficult to make time to connect with students on a personal level, Lidsky said, and thought a running club might provide her with such an opportunity.
“I just really appreciate the chance to get to know students whom I wouldn’t otherwise know, to have a relationship with them that’s less formal than it normally is,” she said, “it’s just been very valuable for me.”
Lidsky also points out the health benefits – it helps keep her blood pressure down and manages stress – and the unexpected benefits of an unofficial mentoring function among the students.
“It makes connections between students who might not otherwise meet, particularly between 2L and 3L students with 1Ls,” she said. “The 3Ls can say ‘I’ve been through this, you’re going to get through this, it’s ok.'”
Second-year law student Chris Grobbel agrees, saying Running with Lidsky is “a great social environment where like-minded people get together in pursuit of a common goal.”
“Law school is a stressful time for just about everyone, so an activity that is healthy, reduces stress, and empowers practitioners to deal with the mental challenges of law school is a pretty ideal match in my book,” he said.
And Grobbel is taking an active role in seeing that Running with Lidsky continues. He registered the club as an official organization with the University of Florida, which puts it in a position to keep growing.
Grobbel said registering as an official UF organization comes with its benefits. The group is a finalist for a Pepsi Refresh $15,000 campus improvement grant, which would be used to install an exercise circuit around Lake Alice for anybody on campus to use. And he said they hope to be a budgeted organization soon, which would provide opportunities for sponsoring races or bringing speakers to campus.
Although the new name for the club – the one UF officially recognizes – is the Lawyer’s Running Club, Grobbel said it will always be known as Running with Lidsky.
“Professor Lidsky is really the driving force of our organization, we would not be where we are but for her,” he said, adding, “that’s a torts joke by the way.”
The group meets on Fridays at 2 p.m. at the UF Law campus. The group size varies, but a good week will have 10 to 15 people running, Lidsky said. The group’s jog takes them on a 5k route – a little over three miles – around the west side of Lake Alice, over to Gale Lemerand Drive, then back up Village Drive to the UF Law campus. Lidsky said it is usually about a 30-minute commitment, depending on how fast one goes. And student affairs provides Gatorade for the group afterwards.
Lidsky stresses the fact that anybody in the law school is welcome and that the group accommodates people of all abilities. She said some people choose to walk while others run; either way is fine.
“All abilities, all ages, all speeds,” she said.
For the most up-to-date information about Running with Lidsky, look at its Facebook page, which will have any changes or updated information about meetings.