Black Law Students Association

Blsa Group Photo

Leadership, 2022-23

Executive Committee

  • President: Jakim Aaron
  • Vice President: Jazmyn Ferguson
  • Treasurer: Esther Adeyemi
  • Secretary: William Irvin

Executive Board

  • Academic Co-Chairs:
    • Tysan Holloman (Fall)
    • Kali Peeples (Spring)
  • National BLSA Liaison: Macio Sexton
  • Alumni & Professional Development: Jamal Wilson
  • Admissions Liaison: Joshua Mannery
  • Social Chair: Sarafina Joseph
  • Community Outreach & Fundraising Chair: Owyn Ferguson

Faculty-Staff Advisor

  • Max Gaston
    Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
    Notre Dame Law School

The Notre Dame Black Law Students Association (BLSA) was established in 1972, and is a chapter of the National Black Law Students Association. BLSA’s mission is to increase the number of culturally responsible Black and minority attorneys who excel academically, succeed professionally, and influence the community positively. 

The organization's objectives include fostering solidarity between Black law students, alumni, faculty, and staff; working with members of the Law School community to promote issues of social importance and create greater inclusivity; and addressing the pressing Civil Rights issues of the day. BLSA also seeks to provide its members with educational and technical opportunities to hone their professional competencies and legal skills.

BLSA welcomes all individuals and does not discriminate based on age, disability, ethnicity, gender identity, national origin, nationality, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation. Current students, alumni, and prospective students are all encouraged to participate in BLSA activities.

In this section:

BLSA Representation at Notre Dame, 2021-22:

  • 1L: 18 students (11% of class)
  • 2L: 18 students (10% of class)
  • 3L: 7 students (4.27% of class)
    *Note: numbers pulled from student-reported data, includes students who report their race as Black in combination with another race or ethnicity.

 

2022 BLSA Homecoming Weekend

 

  • Thursday, September 15 (attire: business casual)
    • 6 to 8 p.m. – Welcome Dinner and 1L Pinning Ceremony
  • Friday, September 16 (attire: business casual)
    • 2 to 4:30 p.m. – Registration / Tours of the Law School and Campus
    • 4:45 to 6:30 p.m. – BLSA Welcome Dinner with alumni and sports law panelists
    • 7 to 8:30 p.m. – “Staying in the Game” panel discussion with alumni working in sports and entertainment law, Decio Theatre in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center
    • 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. – Post-panel reception at DeBartolo Performing Arts Center
  • Saturday, September 17 (attire: casual)
    • 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. – BLSA Alumni Brunch
      • 10:30 to 11:15 a.m. – State of the Law School Address by Dean G. Marcus Cole
      • 11:15 to 11:30 a.m. – Closing remarks
    • 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Fifth annual Law Homecoming Tailgate, tent party on DeBartolo Quad
    • 2:30 p.m. – Kickoff, Notre Dame v. California

Past Events

BLSA Homecoming Weekend (September 15-17, 2022) - ND BLSA hosted its Alumni Homecoming Weekend September 15-17. The weekend commenced with its inaugural 1L Pinning Ceremony on Thursday evening to welcome its 16 new members to the BLSA community and debut our official BLSA lapel pin. On Friday, BLSA hosted the "Staying in the Game" Sports and Entertainment Law Panel which featured prominent leaders in the sports and entertainment industry.

Panelists included:
Raghib "Rocket" Ismael '94 B.A., Former NFL Wide Receiver 
Ndidi Massay '93 J.D., Vice President of Workplace Culture & Diversity Initiatives at CBS Sports
Max Siegel '92 J.D., CEO of USA Track & Field
Mickey Carter '92 J.D., Executive Vice President of U.S. Network Distributions at Paramount Global 
Jonathan Beane, Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at the NFL

Saturday wrapped up the weekend with the BLSA Alumni Brunch, during which Dean Cole provided a State of the Law School Address, followed by the NDLA Tailgate for the ND v. California game. Thank you to all of our students, alumni, and guests for making the weekend a huge success!

BLSA Alumni Spring Weekend (March 24-27, 2022) - BLSA hosted alumni, current students, admitted students, faculty and friends for a four-day celebration of the community that BLSA has built over the last 50 years. The long weekend started with a welcome reception on March 24 sponsored by Bryan Cave. March 25 featured a cocktail reception with admitted students, followed by a fireside chat with Jackie Wilson II '07 J.D., Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer for the Brooklyn Nets, who was interviewed by BLSA President Monica Bell and Fitness Connection USA General Counsel Mauri Miller ’13 J.D. Following the fireside chat, weekend attendees gathered for a March Madness Sweet Sixteen gamewatch in the Commons. On Saturday, March 26, attendees had a continental breakfast and State of the Law School address by Law School Dean G. Marcus Cole. Attendees could also sit in on a symposium on race & the judiciary that was offered for CLE credit. That evening, attendees gathered for a banquet, where several current students were honored with awards and the new BLSA executive board was presented to the group. After dinner, Danisha Hall ‘11 J.D., director of US Leadership and Business Communications at McDonald’s, gave the keynote address, followed by a fireside chat with Hall and BLSA Vice President-Elect Jazmyn Ferguson, a 1L student. The weekend closed out with a farewell brunch sponsored by Faegre Drinker.

Check out highlights from the weekend in the photos and videos below:

 

2021 BLSA Fall Banquet and Awards Ceremony (October 27, 2021) — BLSA hosted and welcomed back alumni to campus for the 49th Annual Alumni Banquet. The program included a cocktail hour, an awards ceremony and dinner where current students, staff and fellow alumni gathered and connected with one another. The 49th Annual Alumni Banquet awardees included:

  • Charles F. Crutchfield Professional Excellence Award— Dean G. Marcus Cole
  • Alvin J. McKenna Alumnus of the Year— The Honorable Judge Cristal Brisco
  • Rebecca B. Ward Appreciation Award— Mauri Miller
  • For a full list of past winners, visit the Notre Dame Law School Scholarship Repository. Each award has a separate listing.
Kevin Warren Event

“A Conversation with Big Ten Conference Commissioner Kevin Warren ’90 J.D.” (September 24, 2021) — Notre Dame Law alumnus and Big Ten Conference Commissioner Kevin Warren ‘90 J.D. joined Notre Dame Law School Dean G. Marcus Cole for a conversation at the Chicago Athletic Association the night before Notre Dame’s Shamrock Series game at Soldier Field. Read a recap of the event.

“An Evening With Dean Cole” (October 5, 2021, co-sponsored with First Generation Professionals) — Dean G. Marcus Cole, the first person in his family to become a lawyer, shared his story with Notre Dame Law School students. See a video of the event below:

“Black History Month Panel Discussion” (February 16, 2022) — A panel of Notre Dame Lawyers discussed the sources of their inspiration, overcoming challenges, advice for law students and young attorneys, and what it means to be a “different kind of lawyer.”

News and Publications

Judge Ann Claire Williams '75 J.D. testified at Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson's hearing before Senate Judiciary Committee on March 24, 2022. See her testimony as part of a panel in this video. Williams' panel runs the first hour of the video.

Dean G. Marcus Cole speaks at Walk the Walk Week prayer service (Notre Dame Law School News, January 19, 2022)

Two BLSA leaders named journal editors-in-chief (Notre Dame Law School News, October 19, 2021)

Two ND Law students named National Black Law Students Association executives (Notre Dame Law School News, July 23, 2020)

"Building a More Inclusive NDLS," a co-hosted symposium between the Program on Ethics, Diversity and Inclusion and Notre Dame Law Review, hosted in 2021. Papers from the symposium are available here, including Dean Cole's essay, "I Am George Floyd. Except, I Can Breathe. And I Can Do Something" and Professor Veronica Root Martinez's "On Being First, on Being Only, on Being Seen, on Charting a Way Forward".

Resources for Students

Scholarships for Black students

External Scholarship Database, maintained by the Law School. Scroll to the bottom of the page.

Resources for Alumni

Jackie Wilson Ndla

Jackie Wilson II ’07 J.D. is the Notre Dame Law Association Board’s affinity representative for Black alumni.

Find more alumni resources at law.nd.edu/alumni.

If you would like to be added to our BLSA alumni listserv and receive information and updates on BLSA alumni events, please click on the button below to fill out a short form.

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