Villanova Black Law Students Association Launches “Equity in the Law” Newsletter

Kathy Fair, Staff Writer

The executive board of Villanova’s Black Law Students Association- Undergraduate Chapter (formerly known as Pre-Law BLSA) recently launched a new section in the Pre-Law newsletter titled “Equity in the Law.” Alex Karlesses, the University’s pre-law advisor, worked with the students to actualize this new initiative, and the Association also shared a bit about its recent trip to Washington D.C.


Gabby Lee explained that the “Equity in the Law” section in the monthly Pre-Law newsletter will serve to “ensure that the legal profession and legal studies become accessible to all students, particularly underrepresented students on Villanova’s campus.”


“We aim to create a platform that consists of information regarding equitable resources, opportunities, networking, support and the uplifting of minoritized voices and their success stories in the legal field,” Lee said.


Karlesses coordinated the launch of the initiative with BLSA.


“She is helping to give us a platform,” Lee said. “She is providing a university-sponsored space for us to share important information, while also collaborating with us on how to make our initiative as impactful as possible. We are so excited to be working with her on this project.”


BLSA undergrad is excited for “Equity in the Law,” and Ajée Robinson shared the group’s hopes for the outcome of the newsletter initiative.


“I hope that the newsletter provides some much needed perspective about the importance of representation for students on Villanova’s campus,” Robinson said. “Many Black students and students of color do not always feel that they are heard or that their goals and future plans are supported in a way that reflects an understanding of their racial perspective or social location.


“BLSA serving as one of the many organizations dedicated to the career success of Black students and students of color through resources, alumni networks and active support is something that not only should be known throughout campus, but also something that should be continually celebrated and supported by Villanova faculty members, academic departments and the administration overall.


“Through this newsletter, we hope to shed light on how being a part of BLSA, and similar professional development organizations more generally, grows greater windows of opportunity and achievement for Black students and students of color on college campuses nationwide.”


“We hope to create a platform where students of color who are interested in law can feel represented and supported,” Lee said. “Oftentimes, we fail to recognize that many resources out there for Pre-Law students are not accessible to everyone, so we want to do our part in trying to change that. Whether this is in the form of facilitating networking connections with legal professionals of color or alerting students of scholarship opportunities that they may not have otherwise been aware of. We want to expand the possibilities and opportunities for students who continue to be underrepresented and underserved.”


Michael Annan and President Natalie Nwaneku explained more about BLSA Undergrad.


The organization mainly seeks to help African-American and Black students at Villanova to be comfortable and learn the ins and outs of law school and the law profession is very easy to join,” Annan said.


“[BLSA] organized a visit to McGuireWoods, a prestigious law firm where we utilized our connection with a Villanova Alum, to sit among partners and attorneys at the firm,” Nwaneku said. “Members of our club were granted access to unparalleled networking opportunities with individuals well-established within their respective legal professions—networking that many underrepresented students sorely lack. We even got to meet the chair of the firm.


Robinson shared some of her favorite aspects of BLSA Undergrad


“Without hesitation, I would certainly say that my favorite aspect of the organization is the sense of community that we forge with one another from very early on,” she said. “We like to refer to our organization and the relationships that our members have with each other as the BLSA family. 


“To be a part of an organization that supports students that not only look like you and undergo similar challenges as you, but who also share in similar dreams and future pursuits as you, is incredibly inspiring. This is particularly special considering many of our members, prior to joining the organization, have not always felt that they had a safe space that reflected such qualities. Fortunately, that changes when they join BLSA and when they realize the positive impact of representation, especially when you are pursuing your legal path.”


BLSA Undergrad is available through email at [email protected] and looks forward to growing the chapter further.