As Co-Presidents of the Black Law Students Association (BLSA), we understand the importance of balance. While Black people make up 13.4% of the American population, Black lawyers make up less than 5% of the legal industry. To mitigate this stark disparity, BLSA seeks to build community, provide academic support, and bridge generational gaps through consistent professional development.
This year, we made a targeted effort to reconnect our community after the COVID-19 pandemic strained our social relations. When we began planning, we realized that our current members’ hardships mirrored those of BLSA alums from years past. Many of us still feel isolated, struggle with imposter syndrome, and ultimately feel unprepared. We decided with this presidency that we want to change the narrative. We recognize that an active and reliable community is paramount to combating these feelings of isolation and imposter syndrome. Our presidency is dedicated to making BLSA that space for our members.
We are intentional about everything we do, including planning inclusive events. From our monthly general body meetings, community luncheons, and impromptu opportunities to connect without academic pressure, there is a space in BLSA for anyone and everyone. Acknowledging the importance of building community outside of Boston College, we built a bond with Black Law Students Associations in the greater Boston area and have our first Citywide BLSA event this year on October 29, sponsored by Morgan Lewis.
Academic support is vital to the success of BLSA students. We gear our academic programming to bridge the educational divide many first-generation Black students experience in law school. We see our best results through our mentorship program. Students are able to receive tailored advice for their classes and study habits that ensure academic success. We strongly encourage students to use the academic services provided by Boston College and make certain that if we don’t have the answer, we find someone who does.
As presidents and students in professional school, we also understand that everyone wants to leave law school with their desired job. We want to ensure that we provide the necessary building blocks for BLSA students to thrive professionally. This includes, but is not limited to, scheduling bi-weekly workshops for 1L students to prepare for summer job applications, hosting bi-weekly networking sessions with BLSA alums, and curating opportunities for students to network with law firms. We also started a series called “How to Network” to provide safe spaces for BLSA students to make mistakes and grow as they prepare for attorney meetings.
We are creating a BLSA that changes the experience of current and future Black law students. We hope that our students enter the legal field feeling empowered, supported, and equipped.
Praise Tillman and Regine Cooper