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Law Women’s Caucus
These are the Bylaws of the Law Women’s Caucus (“LWC” or “Caucus”). They are primarily designed to: (1) supplement and implement the LWC Constitution, (2) assist the Executive Board in running the organization, and (3) ease the transition between current and future Executive Boards by providing a convenient summary of key events, responsibilities, and defining features of LWC. Here is a quick index guide to the subjects covered by these Bylaws:
1. The Vision of LWC.........................................Page 1
2. A Typical Caucus Year...................................Pages 1-3
3. Shared Duties of the Executive Board..............Page 3
4. Scholarships and Endowments.......................Pages 3-4
5. Elections.....................................................Pages 4-5
6. The Board-to-Board Transition Process............Pages 5-6
7. The LWC Website.........................................Page 6
8. The LWC Archives........................................Pages 6-7
9. Alumni Development....................................Page 7
10. The Faculty Advisor’s Role...........................Page 7
11. Amendment of the Bylaws...........................Page 7
1. The Vision of LWC
LWC was founded to advance the rights and improve the position of women and all persons in society by furthering legal, civil, and human rights. LWC seeks to foster a closer relationship between law students at the University of North Dakota, and other legal and women’s organizations as well as to engage in charitable projects to better the community. LWC also strives to inspire and promote women in the legal profession.
LWC typically hosts general meetings, panels, socials, and speakers on various topics related to promoting women. We also host our annual Helen Hamilton Day to celebrate the first woman graduate from the University of North Dakota School of Law!
2. A Typical Caucus Year
Subject to each Executive Board’s discretion to plan and program as it sees fit, the following is an outline of a typical Caucus year:
- Fall Social: Our Fall Social is an event hosted to promote LWC to prospective and returning members in an informal setting. It also gives the members of LWC (“Caucus Members”) a chance to learn about LWC’s vision and the organization’s goals for the academic year.
- First General Meeting
- Three Executive Board Meetings
- Fall Event: Our Fall Event is one of two special events hosted annually by LWC (the other being Helen Hamilton Day). This event is the smaller of the two and strives to educate our Caucus Members on issues pertaining to women in the law. Suggested ideas include: a roundtable, a panel of speakers, or a breakfast discussion. The Fall Event is coordinated by the Vice President, assisted by the Helen Hamilton Day Coordinator. If necessary, those two Executive Board Members can delegate responsibilities to other Caucus Members.
- October General Meeting
- Two Executive Board Meeting
- November General Meeting (typically a breakfast with the women Justices of the North Dakota Supreme Court)
- Two Executive Board Meetings
- Fall Outreach Event: LWC hosts one outreach program each semester in order to help further women, minorities, or anyone of need in the community (as the organization sees fit). Suggested ideas include: a toiletries/personal item drive for CVIC; a canned food/clothing drive for the Northland Rescue Mission; and/or a drive for Circle of Friends Humane Society.
- January General Meeting
- Two Executive Board Meetings
- February General Meeting
- Two Executive Board Meetings
- Outstanding Student Organization Award: The Caucus should consider applying for this University-wide award.
- March General Meeting/Elections for the incoming Executive Board
- Two Executive Board Meetings
- Helen Hamilton Day: This is the second of the two special events that are hosted annually by LWC. It was created to honor Helen Hamilton, the first female graduate of the UND School of Law, and is hosted every Spring. This special event typically consists of a Thursday evening dinner at the Gorecki Alumni Center and a Friday day-long educational seminar featuring several panel-led discussions on contemporary topics. The event also seeks to provide continuing legal education credits for the programming offered. A modest charge is possible.Spring Outreach Event: This is the second of the two Outreach Events offered by LWC in order to help those in need in the community.
- Spring Social: Our Spring Social is an opportunity to thank graduating members and to celebrate the past year’s activities and accomplishments.
- Two Executive Board Meetings
3. Shared Duties of the Executive Board
(a) Shared Duties. The specific duties of each individual Executive Board Member are found in Article IV of the LWC Constitution. However, it is expected that each Executive Board Member, when needed, will assist any other Executive Board Members in satisfying their responsibilities. Executive Board Members must also provide assistance to other Caucus Members when needed.
(b) Meeting Attendance. All Executive Board Members must attempt to attend all General Caucus Meetings and LWC events during their term.
(c) Archives. Executive Board Members should submit anything they create and use during the year that they deem belongs in the archives to the Secretary (e.g., posters, photos taken at events, invitations, or letters).
4. Scholarships and Endowments
(a) The O’Kelly and Aldrich Endowments. LWC currently has two endowments: the Law Women’s Caucus O’Kelly Endowment (“O’Kelly Endowment”) and the Leslie Johnson Aldrich Endowment (“Aldrich Endowment”). The income generated from the O’Kelly Endowment exclusively supports LWC scholarships. The income generated from the Aldrich Endowment supports both LWC scholarships and LWC programming. The LWC Endowment Distribution Guidelines for LWC Scholarships and Educational Initiatives (As of October 31, 2016) and the LWC Scholarship Application should be carefully read by all Executive Board members. Soft copies of the Endowment Guidelines and Scholarship Application can be found on the USB key in Word Document and PDF forms and in hard copy in the LWC Archival Binder.
(b) Key Requirements . Note, among other things, that the Endowment Guidelines describe (1) a required disclosure meeting called by the President and Treasurer with the UND Alumni Association Foundation to take place no later than the first week of Fall Semester classes, (2) the Board’s duty to designate the scholarship amounts, if at all feasible, before beginning the official scholarship application process, (3) the President’s duty to inform the law school’s Director of Finance and the UND Foundation’s Director of Development of the amounts to be awarded to each recipient, (4) the LWC Scholarship Committee’s duty to select scholarship recipients, (5) the President’s duty to inform the law school’s Director of Finance and the UND Foundation’s Director of Development of those recipients, and (6) the duty of the incoming and outgoing President and Treasurer to discuss the Endowment Distribution Guidelines with each other before the academic year ends.
(c) Budget Projection . As soon as feasible after the disclosure meeting with the Foundation (described in section 4(b)(1) above), the Treasurer must present the Board with a tentative budget projection for the year, indicating available monies and those that may need to be secured through outside sources (e.g., SOFA). That projection should also include at least $1,000 that the Board will carry over into the next academic year.
The Vice President will be in charge of running elections. If the Vice President decides to enter as a candidate for the upcoming elections, another Executive Board Member, determined by the Executive Board, will replace the Vice President and run the elections. Elections are run in the following manner:
(a) Election Day.Election Day will be hosted during the first two weeks of March. The Executive Board will choose final dates at least two weeks before nominations begin and notice must be sent to all Caucus Members. At the General Meeting hosted on Election Day, nominees will be given the opportunity to introduce themselves. The polls will be open for 24 hours beginning at midnight on Election Day. Candidates must be listed in alphabetical order on the ballot. The Vice President (or the President if the Vice President is running in the Election) will then count the votes the day after Election Day and the winning delegates will be contacted by phone or e-mail.
(b) Requirements to Run and Vote. To run for a position or vote in the election, a person must be a paid member of LWC. All candidates must have attended at least two LWC meetings and two events, or have made some other significant contribution to the Caucus during the year.
If there is any controversy over whether an individual meets the requirements to run in the elections, Caucus Members can appeal to the Executive Board. After the appeal is heard, the Executive Board will determine whether the member has met the requirements and will be allowed to run for the position. That ruling by the Executive Board stands.
If a candidate anticipates not being physically present on campus during any semester of their term in office, this information should be announced in their nomination presentation.
(c) Candidate Biographies. Candidates have the opportunity to introduce themselves both on Election Day and via a written statement that will be sent to the entire membership before the General Meeting hosted on Election Day. The information included in that statement should include: (1) the nominee’s name; (2) their year in school (1L or 2L); (3) the position they are running for; (4) where they attended undergraduate school; (5) their hometown/where they are from; (6) any previous Board experience; (7) what they think they can offer the LWC Executive Board; (8) their vision for LWC; and (9) whether they anticipate being away for any part of the academic year while in office.
(d) Election Results. All Caucus Members have a right to view election results once the election has been completed. In order to do so, they must approach an Executive Board Member to coordinate the viewing. The Executive Board should allow the student to review the results with at least two Board members who, if possible, were not involved in the election.
(e) Announcement of the Results. After the results are confirmed, the winning delegates will be contacted via phone or email to inform them of their selection. The results will then be sent individually to the remaining nominees, then to the current LWC Executive Board (cc to the Faculty Advisor), and finally to the entire Caucus. The new Executive Board is also announced at the Helen Hamilton Day Dinner.
6. The Board-to-Board Transition Process
(a) Transitional Meetings. New Executive Board Members must meet with the outgoing Executive Board Members in their position at least twice (once one-on-one and once as an entire outgoing and incoming Executive Board) to discuss important responsibilities and prepare for the transition.
(b) Transition Documents . The outgoing Executive Board is responsible for ensuring that each member of the incoming Executive Board receives copies of (1) the LWC Constitution, (2) the LWC Bylaws, and (3) the LWC Endowment Distribution Guidelines. The outgoing Board members must review these key operating documents with incoming Board members before the academic year ends. Each outgoing officer shall provide each new officer with an exit memo with a summary of each position’s duties and suggestions for success in the position.
(c) Treasurer-to-Treasurer Meeting . At the individual transition meeting between the outgoing and incoming Treasurers, the outgoing Treasurer must show the incoming Treasurer all of LWC's financial records and explain how and where those records are maintained.
(d) Summer Responsibilities. While Executive Board Members are not required to meet during the summer, communication and advance planning about the next academic year are strongly recommended before the Spring semester’s close and/or over the summer. The Executive Board must meet at least once at the end of the summer before the Fall semester begins to organize the events for the year. In addition, as noted above, the President and Treasurer must call a meeting with the UND Foundation’s Director of Development to take place no later than the first week of Fall Semester classes to discuss the status of the Endowments.
7. The LWC Website
Maintaining and expanding the LWC Website is an important aspect to promoting the goals of LWC. Each year, the Secretary should review the LWC Website and make the necessary updates as the year progresses. The Secretary is also responsible to ensure that pictures of the Executive Board are taken and posted online.
8. T he LWC Archives
(a) Archives. To the extent feasible, as the custodians of LWC’s legacy, the Executive Board should attempt to document their yearly events, activities and achievements (in either hard copy or electronic version). This will include ensuring that Helen Hamilton’s Portrait and other plaques and photos are represented in the Law School and ensuring that the LWC Archival Binder is updated annually.
(b) Memorial Tree. It is also important to ensure that all Caucus Members are aware of the Helen Hamilton Day Memorial Tree that is located in front of the UND School of Law.
(c) Archival Binder. There should be a binder updated each school year, called the Archival Binder. This binder should be maintained by the Vice President of the organization. The Vice President should include the year’s roster of members, a list of the Executive Board members, the Fall Event and speaker(s), the Helen Hamilton Day topic, dinner speaker, and panelists, and the recipients of the Outstanding 1L, 2L, and 3L awards. The binder shall include all important documents from the LWC academic year (organized by academic year). Important LWC documents should include: Helen Hamilton Day brochures; event postings and publicity; key letters; and other relevant documents. This binder is meant to give the incoming Board a guide and an insight to the organization and its history. The Archival Binder will be kept in the LWC storage cabinet in the Student Organization Office.
9. Alumni Development
In order to help enrich the legacy of LWC, to the extent reasonably possible, the Executive Board or interested Caucus Members should try to increase networking with past members of LWC and learn about their past and current experiences.
Having relationships with LWC alumni will help keep these alumni apprised of what LWC is currently doing at the Law School and help promote potential employment options for current Caucus Members. It will also help generate speaker invitations and provide opportunities for interested members to capture the history of the Caucus through oral and written projects.
10. The Faculty Advisor’s Role
The Faculty Advisor will provide advice to the Caucus and assist in facilitating its goals. Although all Executive Board Members and Caucus Members will have equal access to the Advisor, he or she will meet fairly regularly with LWC’s President (the designated organizational liaison who must facilitate communication between the Advisor and the Caucus as a whole). The Faculty Advisor is encouraged to attend at least one transition meeting between current and incoming officers and/or to hold one meeting with the new officers in the spring of their election.
11. Amendment of the Bylaws
Any amendment to the Bylaws must be made available to the Executive Board and all Caucus Members. To be approved, the amendment must receive at least 3/5 of the Executive Board’s support and at least 50% of the General Caucus’s support (based upon the members attending the meeting). The meeting for the amendment must be adequately advertised, giving all members due notice about the possible changes.