Columbia APALSA By-Laws

As adopted by the Executive Board on September 28, 2005
As revised by the Executive Board on April 10, 2007

Executive Board Positions and Responsibilities

Co-Chairs: The two co-chairs are responsible for the day-to-day administration of APALSA, including managing all committees, scheduling Board meetings, general membership meetings and all APALSA events. Co-chairs are also responsible for acting as representatives of APALSA in dealing with the Law School, other student organizations, other APALSAs, community organizations and law firms.

Treasurer: The Treasurer is in charge of the APALSA accounts and is the liaison with Student Services, Building Events, and other administration agencies regarding monetary matters. The Treasurer is responsible for collecting dues, keeping track of the accounts, and dispensing money and account numbers as needed.

Secretary: The Secretary is responsible for keeping minutes during board and general meetings and is also in charge of the APALSA bulletin board. The Secretary also takes on the responsibilities of planning certain events and assisting other board members.

Academic/Professional Development Chair: The two Academic/Professional Development Chairs shall be responsible for organizing professional panels featuring prominent Asian Americans in the legal community, academic panels, and workshops to assist students with the interview process, summer job searches, clerking, and journals. The Chair(s) shall also collect and distribute APALSA books and outlines.

Alumni Chair: The Alumni Chair shall maintain contact with Columbia’s Asian Pacific American alumni in the legal community. The Alumni Chair shall typically plan and coordinate an alumni-student event for each of the fall and spring semesters.

Community Chair: The Community Chair shall arrange pro bono opportunities with the Asian American community, along with organizing various service projects, public interest panels, and discussions.

Political Chair: The Political Chair shall keep APALSA informed on political issues within the law school community as well as on the national front and shall organize awareness and informational meetings. This shall include events such as public sector/government panels or public interest panels/events in coordination with the Community Chair. The Political Awareness Chair shall also be responsible for APALSA's involvement in minority faculty recruitment and support for the student-initiated seminar on Asian American Jurisprudence.

Recruitment Chair: The Recruitment Chair shall be in charge of the mentor/mentee program, which matches upperclassmen with first-year students to help them with their transition to Columbia Law School. The Recruitment Chair shall also organize the Orientation Outreach in the fall, welcoming first-year students during orientation with an Orientation Dinner to encourage them to join APALSA. The Recruitment Chair(s) shall also organize the Admitted Students Outreach in the spring, contact prospective students interested in APALSA, and organize dinners for the Admitted Students Days.

Social Chair: The two Social Chairs shall coordinate all social events and community service activities for APALSA. Such events include mixers with other law schools, biannual fundraisers, a first-year Legal Methods Party, a 3L send-off, events with other LSAs, and other group activities. The Social Chairs shall also be in charge of planning and organizing/registering sports events and intramural teams for APALSA, especially for the annual basketball game against NYU APALSA.

First-Year Representatives: The two First-Year Representatives shall serve as a liaison between the Board and the first-year class and represent the concerns of the first-year class within the Board. The 1L Representatives shall also initiate and organize at least two events each for the first-year class, such as lunch at the Faculty House with a professor.

Third-Year Representative: The Third-Year Representative shall help provide institutional knowledge and guidance to the board, endeavor to maintain the engagement of the third-year class within the organization, and represent the concerns of the third-year class within the Board.

Decision-Making Procedures

Pursuant to Article IV Section 2 of the APALSA Constitution

Section 1. Decision-making procedures for the Executive Board

1.1. A meeting of the Executive Board (“Board”) may be called by the Co-Chairs, or by a majority of the Members of the Board (“Board Members”). A notice shall be given to the Board Members at least 24 hours prior to the meeting, either in writing, in person, by phone, or by electronic means.

1.1.1. A Board Meeting may also take place electronically, using on-line discussion boards or other electronic means.

1.2. Quorum shall be recognized only if a majority of the Board Members are present.

1.2.1. Where a meeting takes place electronically, quorum is recognized only if a majority of the Board Members have acknowledged receipt of the notice under Subsection 1.1. (e.g. through reply emails) and have not otherwise expressly indicated their inability to participate in the meeting.

1.3. Business may be introduced to the Board by any Board Member.

1.3.1. The Board Members shall be especially attentive to any issues or proposals raised by dues-paying Members of APALSA who are not on the Board (“General Members”).

1.3.2. A General Member may be present at the Board meeting, with the Co-Chair’s prior approval, to introduce a business item.

1.4. The Board shall decide by consensus whether to refer an item of business for consideration by the General Membership under Section 2 procedures.

1.4.1. In using its best judgment, the Board shall take due consideration of matters of significance to the General Membership, including but not limited to public endorsements of political positions in APALSA’s name.

1.4.2. If the Co-Chairs find that there is no consensus, they shall call for a vote, whereby the decision shall be made by a majority of votes cast.

1.5. For any business items not to be referred to the General Membership, the Board shall decide by consensus. If consensus cannot be reached, decision shall be made by a majority of votes cast.

1.6. The Co-Chairs may, in the interest of timely decision-making on what they deem are important policy decisions, forgo the procedure under Subsections 1.1-1.4. and directly refer an item for consideration by the General Membership under Section 2 procedures.

Section 2. Decision-making procedures involving the General Membership

2.1. For any item(s) referred for consideration by the General Membership under Subsections 1.4. or 1.6., the Co-Chairs shall notify the General Membership of the item(s) on which action needs to be taken by APALSA.

2.1.1. The Co-Chairs shall specify the following in the notification:

(a) Background of the issue(s) and a list of possible courses of action;

(b) Forum for discussion by the General Membership;

(c) Deadline for submission of comments and/or on-line discussion; and/or

(d) If needed, time and location of the General Membership meeting.

2.1.2. The notification may take place using electronic means, including emails and electronic bulletin boards.

2.2. Where the Co-Chairs call for a meeting of the General Membership, decision shall be made by a majority of votes cast at the meeting.

2.3. Where the Co-Chairs do not call for a meeting of the General Membership, the following procedures shall apply:

2.3.1. Until the deadline specified in the notification, the General Members may submit their comments either on a designated electronic bulletin board, or directly to any Board Member using any other appropriate means.

2.3.2. The Co-Chairs shall, at the earliest possible time after the above deadline expires, call for a vote by the Board Members. The Co-Chairs shall either call for a meeting of the Board, or direct the Board Members to vote using specified electronic means by a certain deadline fixed by the Co-Chairs.

2.3.3. The Board shall make a decision by absolute majority (i.e. majority of all Board Members). Motions that do not receive an absolute majority are deemed to have been defeated.

2.3.4. Once the Board has made a decision, the Co-Chairs shall notify the General Membership of the decision.

2.3.5. If within 24 hours of the notification of the Board’s decision, 20% or more of the General Membership request a re-vote by the General Membership, the Co-Chairs shall call for a re-vote. The re-vote shall be held either at a meeting of the General Membership, or by electronic means, as designated by the Co-Chairs. Decision shall be made by a majority of votes cast by the General Membership. The decision hereby made is final.

Membership Dues

As of the 2007-08 school year, membership dues shall be $20 per year, $35 for two years, and $45 for three years.

Standing Committee Descriptions

Fundraising: The Fundraising Committee is responsible for raising the funds necessary for APALSA to fulfill its purpose. The Director of the Fundraising Committee shall train as necessary the members of the committee, serve as the committee’s liaison with the Executive Board, keep the Treasurer fully apprised of developments, develop fundraising strategies, coordinate the fundraising efforts of the committee members, and establish and maintain fundraising protocols and records so as to enable succeeding Fundraising Committees to more effectively execute their responsibilities. The members of the committee are responsible for performing the required tasks as delegated by the director and for contributing to strategy development.

Gala: The Gala Committee is responsible for planning the Annual Alumni Gala. The Gala shall take place in the Fall semester, and is intended both to cultivate relations with alumni and to serve as a major fundraiser for APALSA. The Alumni Chair and the Social Chair(s) shall be members of this committee.

Conference: The Conference Committee shall plan and execute an annual APALSA Conference at Columbia Law School. The Conference shall take place in the spring and shall explore issues relevant to Asian Pacific Americans and the law. The committee is responsible for selecting a topic, confirming panelists, and handling all aspects of logistics related to the conference.

Community Action: The Community Action Committee shall assist the Community Chair and the Political Chair, at least one of whom shall be designated as Director of the Community Action Committee. The committee is responsible for community service and political activities. Every general member of APALSA should be strongly encouraged to participate in at least one APALSA community service activity during the year.

Academic/Professional Development: The Academic/Professional Development Committee is responsible for planning events that enrich the academic and professional development of all APALSA members. The committee shall plan events that are appropriate for each class level and for public and private sector employment. At least one of the Academic/Professional Development Chairs shall be designated as Director of the Academic/Professional Development Committee.

Social: The Social Committee shall plan social events for the entire APALSA membership as well as monthly general body meetings. The committee shall assist the Social Chairs as needed. At least one of the Social Chairs shall be designated as Director of the Social Committee.