The Pre-law Advisors National Council, or PLANC, dedicates itself to supporting school faculty members who advise students entering into pre-law studies or those who are already studying. It oversees six regional associations.
When Did PLANC Get Started?
The first idea to form the organization arose in 1980 when the leaders of several regional associations met while staying at the Hilton at O’Hare Airport. At that time, it was largely just a “dinner-and-drinks” conversation, but the gist was to create a national organization with authoritative power that could “get things done.”
It was not until four years later, however, that the idea came to fruition. The nagging fear that each regional association would have its own agenda was behind the four-year wait. Fortunately, after careful examination, the regional boards of directors discovered that they had far more shared concerns than different ones, so they further determined that a national organization was in the best interests of not only all of them but also of all of the students they would advise.
What Exactly Does PLANC Do?
The chief responsibility of the Pre-Law Advisors National Council is to facilitate the free exchange of ideas. As that facilitator, the Council must also act as arbiter for disputes and referee for squabbles between student and advisor, advisor and university, university and regional association, and also between regional associations themselves.
The Council provides resources to faculty advisors and advisees alike. Some of those resources include:
- Sponsoring trips to various law schools
- Overseeing conflicts of interest
- Providing counseling to students from marginalized backgrounds who experience discrimination
- Suggesting alternate career choices, should that be necessary, and providing help during the transition
In essence, PLANC is there to serve the community of those who teach and study pre-law.
That Exchange of Ideas
Ideally, each pre-law advisor should share both success stories and “what-not-to-do” stories with colleagues for the enrichment of both. After all, one learns best by teaching and sharing. With people in the profession far-flung around the country, having PLANC’s well-maintained listserv available makes the sharing easy. Even advisees are encouraged to share their experiences through their advisors.
One of PLANC’s key concepts is that such sharing should lead to discussions about changing guidelines and adopting new policies that are better and more efficient than previous guidelines and policies. Wheat left to rot in the fields of a lazy farmer does no good, and good ideas left to rot in forgotten folders in unnamed conference rooms do no good either. Such good ideas must be implemented to have the desired positive effect.
The Pre-Law Advisors National Council is essential for both the maintenance and growth of the network of pre-law advisors around the country. Students also benefit from the organization because the quality of advice they receive from their advisors improves as the organization changes to improve itself. By combining educational infrastructures, such as technology, databases, and solid information, with a desire always to improve, PLANC commits itself to the students studying pre-law.