Below is a statement from the NBLSA National Attorney General Jeremy McLymont:

Within the last few months, the Black community’s faith in the criminal justice system has been crushed by repeated rounds of injustice.
On April 29, 2017, then Officer, Roy Oliver, shot fifteen-year-old Jordan Edwards in the head with an AR-15 rifle, killing him. The Balch Springs Police Chief fired Oliver after reviewing dash cam footage and realizing that Oliver lied about the incident. Oliver was also charged with murder. Although the officer was charged, the true injustice lies within the culture that prompts officers to shoot unarmed Black bodies and misrepresent the truth surrounding these shootings with impunity. Additionally, recent occurrences remind us that the conviction rate for these police involved shootings has not favored justice for Black lives. We must, therefore, remain vigilant.
Just three days later, on May 2, 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice refrained from bringing federal charges against Howie Lake II and Blane Salamoni, the two officers involved in the murder of Alton Sterling. On the same day, former officer Michael Slager, reversing his prior tale of self-defense, admitted in open court and plead guilty to federal civil rights violations, regarding what our community painfully watched on video – an officer willfully shooting a fleeing, unarmed Walter Scott. The words of the plea agreement vocalize our continuing anguish. This sworn officer of the law “acted voluntarily and intentionally and with specific intent to do something that the law forbids.”
Fifteen days later, Betty Shelby, the officer who murdered an unarmed and compliant Terrance Crutcher, was acquitted of manslaughter by a jury of her peers.
Mr. Philando Castile
Most recently, on June 16, 2017, Officer Jeronimo Yanez was found not guilty of second-degree manslaughter stemming from the killing of Philando Castile. A law-abiding, weapon permit-carrying, compliant citizen who bled out in full view of his girlfriend and their four-year-old daughter, following seven shots from an officer who “feared for his life.” It was a senseless homicide, witnessed globally on Facebook Live, yet his Black life received no justice. This traumatic cycle of abuse and injustice is all too familiar within our community.
For nearly fifty years, NBLSA’s legacy has been rooted in the fight against injustice and it will continue down the path of racial justice. As Assata Shakur said, “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.” In a country where it seems that Black lives do not matter, we must continue to affirm to ourselves and to the world that Black lives do, in fact, matter!
The National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA) calls on local, state and federal elected officials to work with police departments in drafting policies that will make our communities safer. We challenge these groups to raise the minimum requirements for police officer applications to include higher levels of education and experience. We call on police departments to refrain from sending their officers into communities that they fear; this idea is counterproductive to a safe and successful working environment. We also call for the federal prosecution of Officer Yanez for civil rights violations.
Lastly, NBLSA challenges its own members to get involved. Reach out to members on the National Advocacy Team and share your progressive ideas. The expectations of Black lawyers as social engineers remain high. If not us, then who? If not now, then when?
About the National Black Law Student Association
National Black Law Students Association (“NBLSA”), is a national organization formed to articulate and promote the needs and goals of Black law students to effectuate change in the legal community. As one of the largest student-run organizations of its kind in the United States for Black law students, NBLSA has thousands of members across America and is also comprised of more than 200 chapters and affiliates from six countries, including the Bahamas, Nigeria, and South Africa.


Law School Burnout, A Little R&R: Reward and Recharge

As law students, we endure great amounts of stress and pressure to succeed. All the while we try to create a school, life, and sometimes work balance and still maintain some level of normalcy (whatever that is). The question is how do we minimize this stress and make time to take advantage of positive outlets?

One personal practice I began my 2L year was to set aside one weekend, or one day of a weekend, per month to do something that I enjoyed. Something that was not school related, nor work related. These activities have included painting at Merlot's Masterpiece, attending an 11th Hour poetry sessions at Busboys & Poets, and attending the play "Black Side of the Moon." Just having these small mental breaks can do wonders for ones psyche as well as their physical and spiritual health. Mini retreats like these, can also serve as rewards to law students for the hard work they put in and for even making it to this point in their academic careers.

Oftentimes, we don't take time to celebrate the small victories: performing well on an exam, being elected to serve on the board of an organization, or completing a bar exam course. We don't want to work tirelessly through law school, look up, and realize it's over without taking time to have enjoy the experience and have lived in the moment.

Moral of the story: everyone needs a positive outlet and needs to take advantage of that positive outlet regularly.

About the AuthorRenee C. Mims, a Detroit native, is a third year part-time student at the University of the District of Columbia. She serves as the Programming Committee Chair for the Greater Washington Area Chapter, Women Lawyers Division of the National Bar Association (GWAC). Renee also serves as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) where she represents the best interests of youth involved in the foster care system and advocates for necessary resources, services, and works toward recommended permanency goals.


Funding Your Startup

Most entrepreneurs face the same problem while growing their startup: securing funding. Although entrepreneurs are willing to fund their initial operations by acquiring debt, commercial lenders (i.e. banks) are unlikely to offer loans to startups. Further, when private lenders do offer loans, these loans are typically usury or exploitative due to the excessive interest rates. So, how do you raise enough capital to transform your startup into a business?

One option is to turn to friends and family for financing. Once an entrepreneur identifies a savvy friend or family member willing to take a chance on the startup, the entrepreneur is one step closer to turning their startup into a sustainable business. Typical funding transactions for relatives include donations, loans, or even seed funding. While most entrepreneurs are familiar with donations and loans, some may be unfamiliar with seed funding. Seed funding is funding acquired to cover initial operating expenses and to attract more affluent investors.[1] This type of capital is often obtained in exchange for equity (or “shares of stock”) in the startup. Relatives investing in your startup through seed funding will have a stake in the startup. Thus, relatives that are value-add investors, or investors who provide both funding and business advice, are great resources. Value-add investors generally have several years of experience working with startups. But “beggars can’t be choosers,” so try to keep an open mind; depending on your circumstances, you may not be able to turn potential investors away. 

Two popular examples of seed funding are SAFEs and convertible notes. A SAFE, or Simple Agreement for Future Equity, is essentially a warrant that grants an investor the right to convert her monetary investment into equity at some point in the future. SAFEs are relatively new, but their structure enabling startups to acquire funding without onerous interest rates has made SAFEs more attractive among startups and family investors. Alternatively, entrepreneurs can issue convertible notes to investors. Convertible notes convert monetary investments into equity like SAFEs; however, convertible notes are debt instruments with interest rates and a maturity date.[2]

After acquiring funding, you can continue to cultivate your incredible startup. If you would like to read more about SAFEs, convertible notes, other funding options, or the startup process, feel free to like this post and comment below.

About the Author: Taylor Weaver is a third-year law student at the Georgetown University Law Center. He is a co-founder & CFO of Spud Buds, a Georgetown-based community food shop, and the founder & co-president of Startup Hoyas Law (SHL). SHL is the professional club dedicated to entrepreneurship for law students at the Georgetown University Law Center.

[1] Read more about Seed funding at http://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/seedcapital.asp#ixzz4YUDDW8DZ
[2] See examples of SAFE notes at https://www.ycombinator.com/documents/


Securing the Dream

Join us for a panel discussion on current issues facing the Black community.


UVA School of Law's Conference: Shaping Justice

Join UVA School of Law's Shaping Justice conference.

Shaping Justice is a public interest conference focused on transforming the law to provide equal justice to all.  It will be February 3 and 4 at UVA Law.  Participants will hear about cutting-edge issues and learn public interest lawyering skills from attorneys working with people who face a formidable path to justice.  Robin Steinberg, Founder and Executive Director of The Bronx Defenders, will be the keynote speaker.  Click here for more information and to register.  The cost is to attend is $25.

49th Convention Information

Join us for our Moot Court and Mock Trial Competitions, engaging workshops and social events, and opportunities to network with practitioners and law students throughout the Region! Find the agenda here!

Register here
Hotel room rates go up after January 15: Reserve your room today!

Countdown with us!


MABLSA Food and Clothing Drive

A regional food and clothing drive for local homeless shelters
Dates: November 7th - December 7th

Contact mablsa.service@nblsa.org for more information


Job Opportunity: Women's Law and Public Policy Fellowship Program

The Women's Law and Public Policy Fellowship Program (WLPPFP) at the Georgetown University Law Center offers one year Fellowships for public interest lawyers from the United States who are committed to advancing women's rights throughout their careers. Although each Fellowship experience is unique, each of our fellows works to advance women's rights at a D.C.-based organization, learn together about substantive women’s rights issues, explore a multitude of career paths through which they can advocate for women’s equality, and develop their legal and interpersonal skills through seminars, trainings, networking events and other Fellowship activities. For more information please visit the website: http://www.law.georgetown.edu/wlppfp/.  

WLPPFP Fellowship Placement:  In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda

This is a one year position, from September 2017 to August 2018, at a salary of $48,000.  It is strongly advised that you familiarize yourself with this organization before completing this application.

For more information, click here.


Community Service Weekend in Richmond, VA

VA Happy Hour
Friday, November 11, 2016; 6-10pm
Come out and mingle at a MABLSA Happy Hour! Free food and drink specials!

Youth Moot Court Competition
 Saturday, November 12, 2016; 12-2pm

MABLSA Youth Moot Court Competition Partnered with MLK Boys and Girls Club of Metro Richmond.
Know Your Rights Info Session
Saturday November 12; 4-6pm

A discussion of the current relationship between law enforcement and the community and how to exercise individual rights as citizens when approached by police.