UVA Law's BLSA Wins National Chapter of the Year

Members of UVA Law's BLSA chapter

Members of UVA Law's BLSA chapter picked up the award for Chapter of the Year during NBLSA’s national conference in Houston last week. Pictured are, from left to right: Marwa Abdelaziz '19, Steven Morris '18, Deitra Jones '18, Charis Redmond '17, Jeremy Lofthouse '18, Nel-Sylvia Guzman '18 and Keyawna Griffith '18.

March 13, 2017

The Black Law Students Association at the University of Virginia School of Law won National Chapter of the Year honors at the organization's national conference in Houston last week.

Chapters were judged based on students’ efforts as advocates for the National Black Law Students Association’s service ideals both at their home law schools and in the broader community, and their programming in several categories: community service initiatives, sociopolitical awareness, pre-law programming, alumni relations, education and career development, regional programming and international relations. Chapters are required to submit an application and scrapbook, and sit for an interview. There are more than 200 NBLSA chapters in the United States.

In total, chapters from 80 law schools and more than 300 students were in attendance at the conference. This marks the fourth time UVA BLSA has received the national chapter award since 2002.

"When I first ran for president of BLSA, I asserted that I believed it was about time we reclaimed our title as Chapter of the Year. With the tireless effort of my executive board, enthusiasm of our general members, thoughtfulness of our faculty allies, and support from the UVA community at large, we were able to achieve this goal," BLSA President Deitra Jones ’18 said. "I could not be more proud of my chapter and it has been my honor to serve this organization."

In February at the Mid-Atlantic BLSA conference in Pittsburgh, the chapter was recognized as Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Year in the medium-size category.

UVA Law BLSA member and first-year student Subulola Akere also brought home an award for Best Negotiator of the Second Preliminary Round for the Nelson Mandela International Negotiation Competition.

The chapter regularly sponsors programs, community outreach projects and panel discussions. The organization’s popular biannual diversity receptions provide students with opportunities to network with representatives from law firms interested in recruiting a diverse group of lawyers.

Members regularly hold national leadership positions. When they were students, Raqiyyah Pippins ’06 and Melinda Hightower ’11 both served as chair of NBLSA, the organization’s highest position. In 2016, Charis Redmond ’17 served as the vice chair of NBLSA, and in 2015, four students served on the national board. Marwa Abdelaziz ’19 currently has a seat on the BLSA National Executive Board. (More)

Each year, the group hosts a service trip during winter break. The most recent of these took members to Tanzania where they worked pro bono at the Women's Legal Aid Centre.

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