The Law Society has the support of several faculty, staff, and alumni, who assist the Society in the fulfillment of its objectives and who advise its leadership on various policy-making decisions and other issues. These advisors include a Faculty Advisor (who serves as the officially-recognized advisor for the group), an Alumni Advisor, as well as local alumni coaches who help prepare the law teams for competition, and a advisory committee of faculty who assist the Law Journal publication in maintaining standards of quality, performance, and credibility.
Faculty Advisor: Professor James Nolan
Professor James Nolan is a Professor of Sociology at Williams College.
As the Faculty Advisor for the Society, he serves as a liaison between the organization and the College administration and faculty, provides guidance and support for the group and its leadership, stays informed of the activities of the group, and assists the Society in the fulfillment of its objectives.
Emanuel McMiller’14 and Dan Zhao’14 are the Co-Founders of the Williams College Law Society, and served as its first Co-Presidents. Emanuel majored in Political Science, with concentrations in Justice & Law, Africana Studies, and Maritime Studies, and also played on the rugby team, and sang in the gospel choir, in addition to his responsibilities for the Law Society. Dan Zhao majored in Economics and studied for a year at Oxford via the Williams-Exeter Program.
As the Alumni Advisors, they serve as liaisons between the Society and alumni in the legal field, and advise the Society on its organizational mission and history, helping to maintain the long-term continuity of the group from year-to-year. They also assist the Board in strategic planning for the future, and provide guidance and support for the group.
Law Teams Advisor: Professor Philip Mcknight’65
Philip R. McKnight ’65 is a trial and appellate attorney. At Williams he completed the honors program for both American History and Literature and European History. He earned his law degree from The University of Chicago Law School and then practiced in the state and federal courts of New York and Connecticut, as well as in Europe.
As Law Teams Advisor, Professor McKnight assists each team in the final stages once the initial preparation has been dealt with to ensure that the performance of the team is the best that it can be. His primary role is to advise to advise the leaders of the program (Law Teams Director and Team Captains) on their performance, to judge and critique the performance of the teams in their dress rehearsals and scrimmages in the weeks prior to regionals and nationals competitions (rather than focusing on the initial preparation and case development), to advise the team coaches if necessary on their role and performance, and to assist and support the Law Teams Director and the team coaches in any other way necessary and/or possible.
Pre-Law Advisor: Michelle Shaw’95, Esq. (Ex-Officio Advisor)
Michelle Shaw’95, is the Assistant Director of the Williams College Career Center and the Pre-Law Advisor. Serving as a Specialist in Public Service, Environment, and Law, Michelle provides counsel to undergraduates and alumni about careers in government and public policy, non-profit and public service, international affairs, the environment, sustainability, and the law. Michelle also serves as the Pre-Law Advisor working with current students and alumni interested in attending law school.
Michelle joined the WCC after ten years in private practice as an attorney. She has worked extensively on issues related to the environment and has worked with several public interest organizations. She served most recently as the Pro Bono Advisor for a start-up non-profit organization based in New York. Michelle is also a LEED AP, certified by the U.S. Green Building Council.