The Chicago-Kent Black Law Students Association (BLSA) is a chapter of the National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA). NBLSA was founded in 1968 at New York University Law School, and is the largest student run organization in the United States with over 6,000 members across 200 chapters in 6 different countries. For information on the benefits that are available to dues-paying NBLSA members, please see the NBLSA website.
BLSA’s mission is to promote the educational needs and goals of Black law students at Chicago-Kent College of Law in such a manner as to enhance the development of professionally competent, legally trained individuals responsive to the needs of the Black community. All members of the Chicago-Kent community are encouraged to participate in our events.
- Academic Support: One of BLSA’s top priorities is to support out members’ academic achievement. In recent years, we have welcomed exam-taking experts to provide exam tips useful to 1Ls taking their first law-school exams as well as 3Ls preparing for the bar. In 2014, Chicago-Kent BLSA partnered with the National Black Law Students Association to host the Midwest Sub-Region II Academic Retreat.
- Career Guidance: BLSA members have access to successful alumni in large law firms, state and federal government, and public interest organizations. During our Alumni Networking Week, BLSA connects current Chicago-Kent students with Chicago-Kent alumni so that students can learn about different areas of law and create professional connections within the Chicago legal community. The 2015 Alumni Networking Week included informational interviews, informal coffee meetings, and a Happy Hour.
- Social Events: BLSA coordinates and participates in a number of social activities to encourage closer ties between its members and connect to the broader Chicago-Kent community. The BLSA Welcome Back Game Night was an opportunity for 1L, 2L, and 3L students to meet each other in an informal setting and share provide law school guidance. For “Mama Made it Mondays,” BLSA offered chicken from a local restaurant and home-made biscuits for students to purchase, and Chicago-Kent students participated in BLSA’s Charity “Not-So-Date” Auction in an effort to support the Autism Society of Illinois.
- Community Engagement: BLSA is committed to identifying and discussing the viewpoints of the Chicagoland communities by hosting forums for discussion, including past conferences on the State of Black Chicago. The Police Militarization Panel, co-sponsored by three other student organizations, focused on the impact of Ferguson on the national conversation about justice, discrimination, and police militarization. BLSA also hosts, and participates in, community service events that allow members to engage with underserved populations in Chicago.
- Campus Diversity: BLSA works closely with the Chicago-Kent Student Bar Association to host events during Chicago-Kent’s Diversity Week and is part of the Diversity Thursday series. During the 2015 Diversity Week, BLSA co-hosted an “Out of Office” Etiquette event that gave attendees tips on professional etiquette at networking events.