On March 30, the Harvard Law School chapter of the Black Law Students Association (HBLSA) received the Chapter of the Year award from the National Black Law Students Association. Given to one chapter out of over 200 in the country, the award was presented during the 40th annual national convention in Detroit. HLS Professor and faculty advisor to the HBLSA Charles Ogletree ’78 was a keynote speaker at the event.
“I am so proud of our team effort,” said Marques Richeson ’08, external vice president of HBLSA. “We call HBLSA a ‘family’ because we build community together. We ensure that each member is meeting his or her fullest academic and professional potential while also using the legal tools that we obtain at HLS to have a greater impact on the world around us.”
In order to be considered for the national award, HBLSA had to first win a regional chapter of the year award, which they received for the northeast region earlier this spring. The award is given to the chapter that is judged to be the most dedicated to its members’ educational development, academic achievement, 1L support mechanisms, professional and career development, political awareness, social consciousness, and community activisim.
At both the regional and national level, competing chapters were judged on the basis of an interview and a scrapbook documenting the chapter’s programs and initiatives. The HBLSA has sponsored over 150 programs over the course of this academic year, including: the 25th Annual Spring Conference, an Africa summit trip to Tanzania, 1L and 2L/3L job fairs, a mentorship program with Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School, a street law program, Black History Month celebration, food and clothing drives, and the Black & White Charity Ball.
Last year, the HBLSA received The Johnny Cochran Award for their participation in community service programs and for increasing awareness about issues affecting the black community. With nearly 150 members, the Harvard BLSA is the largest Black Law Students chapter in the country.