Amanda Burch always knew she wanted to be a lawyer. Raised on a steady diet of the Matlock TV attorney series, she planned her undergraduate degree to dovetail neatly into her J.D., and she was on her way. She chose WMU-Cooley because the weekend classes and part-time schedule meshed well with the reality that she needed to continue working while in school.
Although busy with balancing work and school, Amanda doesn’t limit herself to just attending classes – she is highly involved in campus life. She serves as vice president of the very active Student Bar Association at the Tampa Bay campus.
“We have started the One and Done initiative here at our Tampa Bay campus. The One and Done Initiative is a pledge from students and faculty to increase the bar passage rate. We are doing everything in our power to make sure students are working with faculty and staff to take advantage of all the resources and materials needed to take the bar once and be done with it,” she noted.
Serving is a Duty
Amanda has also served as a governor for the Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division – Law Student Division. Her contributions have been so valued that she recently was named Governor of the Year.
“How the Governor of the Year is mainly picked is that your peers give recommendations to the YLDLSD president and the president evaluates your performance to see if you went above and beyond the call of duty, and stand out among others,” she explained.
Amanda sees herself starting off at the college level with the NCAA and eventually working up to the professional teams. Her ultimate goal is to become an independent agent for athletes.
The Sports & Entertainment Law Society is very active and Amanda’s enthusiasm for the group is clear.
“We recently put on the Sports & Entertainment Law Society here at Tampa Bay. We put on a panel, where it was really exciting. We brought in the chief legal counsel from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and an associate counsel from the Tampa Bay Lightning, a professor here at WMU-Cooley, along with some other panelists.
“It was very informative. The panelists enjoyed themselves, and we were able to offer the students professional headshots. So not only did they receive informative information, but they also received something they could take away from it and use on professional sites on LinkedIn and Facebook and different things like that to help them network and land a job. So I thought that was one of my favorite events here,” Amanda recalled.
Never too busy to help
One might think that was enough to keep Amanda busy – but one would be wrong. In addition to work, classes, and the extra-curricular activities at school, Amanda also makes sure to reach out to others who need her growing area of knowledge.
“Once I have downtime, I do pro bono work – to help the homeless, individuals who may have been wrongfully evicted from their homes. I do have a passion for children and the homeless. Those are my soft spots. I try to find volunteer opportunities that kind of center around the homeless and children,” she explained.
Amanda entered law school with two master’s degrees under her belt, one in sports management, and one in conflict analysis and resolutions. She knew that was not enough for her.
“Being an attorney is something that I’ve always wanted to do,” she said. “I know that you can help individuals in many different ways, but I felt like I could give back and help more with the legal system. In order to make a change, sometimes you have to be a part of the change. You have to be part of the legal system in order to be that change.”
Amanda is working on being part of that change. She is more than two-thirds of the way toward her goal and looking forward to the day she can combine her lifelong love of the law and sports to help others.