Agricultural law group sprouts on campus
One of the newest groups to sprout on the Widener Law Commonwealth campus is the American Agricultural Law Association (AALA).
The mission of the AALA chapter at the law school is to promote awareness for the need of legal services in agriculture and encourage students to pursue careers in agriculturally-related fields. The organization also addresses the growing needs of the farming community, which can include sustainable energy, engineering, pathology/, pathology/pharmaceuticals, insurance, and finance.
The AALA at Widener Law Commonwealth, which was formed about a year ago, also has the distinction of being one of only nine AALS accredited chapters in the nation.
According to statistics provided by the United States Department of Agriculture, in 2016 there were approximately 58,200 farms in the State of Pennsylvania covering more than 7,630,000 acres of the state. The state of Pennsylvania farming has an impact of nearly $7.4 billion per year. By 2025, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture expects there to be nearly 75,000 openings in agriculture and food industry related jobs.
“Any law student who would get involved with our chapter would become part of unique group and be a more well-rounded attorney,” said Jessica Lehman, past president and founding member of AALS Harrisburg Chapter. “You no longer need to be in a small town or rural setting to be a part of agriculture law, so becoming well-versed in Ag Law during law school is a skill that is both marketable and unique for our student entering the workforce.”
While many officers in the AALA chapter at the Law school have ties to agriculture, it is not necessary for students to have experience in agriculture to join. Students can become involved in the organization by attending meetings, following the organization on Facebook or joining the group on TWEN. Along with learning about the legal needs of the agriculture community, the group also plans outings to manufacturers and processors in the local area.