Southwestern's BLSA Chapter Excels at Regional Convention
At the National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA) Western Regional Convention held in Las Vegas, Southwestern's chapter performed exceptionally well, racking up several awards and accolades in appellate and trial advocacy as well as chapter achievements.
For the second consecutive year, Southwestern's organization won Regional Chapter of the Year. Shawna Wright, Co-President of Southwestern's Black Law Students Association (BLSA) chapter, explained the extent of the group's commitment to the law school, public interest activities and student development. "This year, it was BLSA's mission to impact our community by participating in various events such as our Expungement Clinic, donating services, volunteering for various functions, and sponsoring academic events for our students and local youth," she said. "All of the hard work that went into executing these events - so that BLSA could be considered for Regional Chapter of the Year - could not have occurred without the support of Southwestern and our BLSA members. We were excited and honored to have won this award."
Third-year evening student David Brown was named Western Regional Board Member of the Year. Additionally, three first-year students were elected to Regional Executive Board Positions, including: Michelle Henderson, Director of Membership; Lakeshia Dorsey, Attorney General; and Erin Lovelace, Secretary.
During the Fredrick Douglass Moot Court Competition, Shanna Moore (SCALE II) and Maria Olaguez (second-year day student) earned recognition for producing the Best Petitioner's Brief, and Moore received the award for Best Oralist. The judges praised the two advocates for the originality of their brief. "The readers/judges loved that we thought outside the box," Moore said. "We didn't just pull cases and statutes. We dove deep into secondary sources.... We came at this problem from every possible angle we could think of."
Professor Tara Walters and alumna Siannah Collado '07 advised the team. Moore was also glad that the time and effort in preparing for the competition paid off, and that she articulated her points well enough to be distinguished as Best Oralist. "At one point, I truly felt like Sonny Corleone in 'The Godfather.' The judges were just shooting questions at me like bullets, nonstop, and there was no means of escape or retreat. What winning told me was that, unlike Sonny, I managed to stand my ground and live to fight another day. That I can walk away from that kind of 'assault,' with this sort of victory...it's a wonderful feeling."
In the Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition, fourth-year evening students Alain Browning, Monet Heslup and Rafael Quezon, and second-year day student Vanessa Rodriguez advanced to the semi-final round.