The Black Law Student Association chapter at Indiana University Maurer School of Law is hoping its success in the Midwest carries over to the 49th Annual Convention of the National Black Law Students Association.
For the fifth time in six years, the Maurer BLSA took home the BLSA Midwest Regional Chapter of the Year award in February 2017. Now the Bloomington group is in contention for the national chapter of the year award presented during the national organization’s convention being held this week in Houston.
Alexandria Foster, president of the Maurer BLSA, sees the Midwest award as confirmation of the group’s many efforts to create a community and bring awareness to key issues at the Bloomington law school.
“It’s a recognition of the work that our chapter has done and our commitment to serve,” she said.
With 48 members of diverse races, ethnicities and backgrounds, the Maurer BLSA is one of the most active student organizations at the law school. It hosts and coordinates a variety to events from social gatherings and fundraisers like the Rapheal M. Prevot Jr. Barrister’s Ball to community service programs, discussions and symposiums that spotlight political and social issues.
In February after racist posters were put outside of the offices of some law school minority faculty, the BLSA organized Stand for Solidarity, an event that brought 150 students and faculty together to denounced the act of hate and support the targeted professors.
The BLSA’s activities helped convince Foster to study at IU Maurer. A native of Farmington Hills, Michigan, and graduate of the University of Michigan, she took a close look at the BLSA chapters at the law schools she was considering.
Foster explained since minorities are underrepresented at law schools, she wanted to have community that looked like her and understood her experiences. Once she arrived in Bloomington, she found the local BLSA chapter to be very welcoming and supportive of the first-year students.
The second- and third-year BLSA members hold academic enhancement sessions to help the first-year students learn good study habits and prepare for exams. Also, BLSA alumni come back to hold a workshop on how to prepare for the bar exam.
Foster, who will graduate in 2018, described the first year of law school as “extremely difficult and stressful.” However, she credits the BLSA with giving her the confidence to get involved and become a leader in the organization.
Foster will be a summer associate at Krieg DeVault LLP this year and next fall she will be studying abroad in Barcelona. So once her term as president ends, she will be stepping back from leadership positions.
But currently, she is excited about the Maurer BLSA Chapter being in considered for the national award. Noting the competitors for the honor are great law schools with great chapters, Foster said she is happy her organization is getting some recognition nationally.