A good lawyer has to be able to make compelling arguments, so members of the pre-law fraternity Phi Alpha Delta practiced those skills debating each other on current, topics Thursday night.
“Wanting to be a lawyer, it’s essential (that) I’m good at oral arguments,” said Madison Tyler, a Pinckney freshman and member of the fraternity. “I’ve been debating competitively since fifth grade. It’s great to get back into it. It’s a rush.”
Tyler debated on the merits of raising the federal minimum wage. During President Barack Obama’s most recent State of the Union speech this was one of his main points for helping low-income families.
“It could help increase the quality of life,” she said during the debate. “It would give those living on minimum wage more buying power. While $15,000 a year is above the poverty threshold for one person, it’s not for a family.”
Tyler’s arguments, along with fellow fraternity members Hunter Reams and Stephanie White, won the debate for their team.
Samantha Heuring, a Stanton senior and law and school preparation committee chair for Phi Alpha Delta, said the idea for debates was suggested by a former member.
“We wanted to do something that was outside of LSAT preparation,” she said. “We wanted to pick something that was a current issue. I wanted an issue that wasn’t religious related either.”
The debate teams also discussed Michigan’s stand-your-ground law, an issue that became widely known after the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida as well as many other events around the nation.
Heuring said the committee chose these two topics because they would help with research skills and add to their professional development.
“We wanted something that will be professionally enriching,” she said.
The fraternity plans to hold debates at least once a semester. They hope to continue with other current events to draw more students and faculty members in to listen to both sides of the arguments while members grow their skills.
Heuring said she hopes more students come next time so they can learn more about social issues surrounding them.
“I think that regardless of your profession…it’s important to be aware of the issues around you,” she said. “You have to be aware of the culture and the state of the economy.”
Heuring said she also hopes to get more students involved, especially since the fraternity has moved to an open membership policy.
“We welcome anyone who has any type of interest in law,” she said. “We’re the only law (registered student organization) on campus.”