The Stanford Black Law Student Association (BLSA) was established in 1970 at the law school. Our first graduates (pictured above from left to right) were Leroy Bobbit (’69), Sallyanne Peyton (’68), and Vaughn Williams (’70) — who would subsequently become the first Black president of the Stanford Law Review, making Stanford the first top law school to break that barrier. BLSA was founded with the belief that Stanford could do more to help its black students. Indeed, the first SLS BLSA class wrote, “The history of Stanford University shows a categorical exclusion of Black students from the educational process and the law school.”
For 50 years, BLSA has tried to better that reality. We are a student-run organization that strives to provide career and academic support for students of African descent and forge alliances among BLSA members, alumni, faculty of color, and other law students in the Bay Area. We provide a space for students to engage with issues impacting black communities on-campus and externally, both through discussion and community service.
Since 2013, Stanford BLSA hosts an annual black-tie Gala to celebrate the black community and the struggles our community still faces in the nation. It routinely attracts 350+ professors, alumni, and students, with tickets often selling out in a few minutes, and features a speaker, who is committed to liberation of the black community more broadly. It is widely sponsored by a host of law firms across the country.
Stanford BLSA is a chapter of the National BLSA organization that includes more than 200 member law schools. Our BLSA has been featured in the Washington Post, The Guardian, Verge, Stanford Daily, Above the Law, and Law.com. All members of the Stanford community are encouraged to participate in our events.
We count among our alumni incredible individuals who have made a substantial impact in their communities and the country: Michelle Alexander, Jasmine Guillory, The Honorable Judge Casey Cooper, The Honorable Judge Haywood Gilliam, Maya Harris, Cheryl Robinson, and Tony West are just a few of the many.
The 7th Annual and the 50th Celebration of BLSA
Saturday, February 1, 2020
6:00 PM Cocktail Reception | 7 PM Three-Course Dinner
Arrillaga Alumni Center
Keynote Address: Paul Butler – Professor of Law at Georgetown University and Author of “Chokehold: Policing Black Men”
Strength in Unity
Stanford Law community in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and all peaceful protests to end systematic racial violence and policing against black and brown bodies.
BLSA is not just a student group.
It's a family.
BLSA works very closely with the Law School administration on minority student recruiting and retention, financial aid, and minority faculty hiring.
One of Stanford BLSA’s top priorities is to support its members’ academic achievement. In recent years, we have held an introductory study skills session to assist 1Ls with their transition to law school. BLSA members also conduct exam prep sessions for each class in the 1L curriculum.
BLSA is committed to identifying and articulating the needs and viewpoints of the nation’s black communities by hosting forums for discussion, including our annual conference as well as speakers throughout the academic year. BLSA also hosts community service events that allow our members to engage with underserved populations throughout the Bay Area.
Stanford BLSA holds events with various law firms throughout the year in order to help our students become familiar with a wide range of career options. This past year BLSA hosted panels discussing the unique issues facing lawyers of color, including the legal hiring process, the culture at large law firms, attorney retention, and diversity in the legal profession. Stanford BLSA members have access to successful alumni from large law firms, state and federal government, and public interest organizations. These alumni return to campus and give back to Stanford BLSA by taking the time to network with members and discuss their careers in small group settings.
Stanford BLSA coordinates and participates in a number of social activities to encourage closer ties between its members and connect to the broader black community at Stanford. BLSA “families” connect 1L, 2L, and 3L students to share experiences and provide guidance. We also co-host social and academic events with other minority groups at the law school and throughout the University. BLSA attends the Alumni of Color Reception during Alumni Weekend and participates in activities with other Bay Area BLSAs, connecting members to alumni, fellow students, and other attorneys.