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National Black Law Students Association

43rd Annual

National Convention

Guide to Convention

March 9-13, 2011 | Omni Galleria Hotel | Houston, TX |

43rd Annual National Convention

T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S Guide to Convention | 1

TABLE OF CONTENTS 02 | About NBLSA 03 | About the 43rd National Convention 04 | Hotel & Travel 05 | Registration 06 | Community Service 07 | Plenary 08 | Panels & Workshops 09 | Career Fair 10 | Receptions 11 | Social Events 12 | Luncheon, Prayer Breakfast & Awards Gala 13 | Housekeeping 14 | Speaker Recognition 15 | Award Recipients

43rd Annual National Convention


About NBLSA In 1968, Algernon Johnson ("AJ") Cooper Jr., former mayor of Prichard, Alabama, founded the first Black American Law Students Association (BALSA) at the New York University Law School. In 1983, BALSA revised its name and the word "American" was deleted to encompass all blacks, including those not of American nationality. Later, the word "National" was added to reflect the organization's national expansion, which now includes representation in the law schools of forty-eight states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Today, the National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA), is a national organization formed to articulate and promote the needs and goals of black law students and effectuate change in the legal community. As the largest student run organization in the United States with over 6,000 members, NBLSA is also comprised of chapters or affiliates in six different countries including The Bahamas, Nigeria, and South Africa. Organized into six regions (Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southern, Mid-West, Rocky Mountain and Western Region), the organization has over 200 chapters and is present in all but a few of the nation's accredited law schools, as well as unaccredited law schools. The headquarters of NBLSA is located in Washington, D.C. NBLSA encourages the development of talented, social conscious lawyers of tomorrow.

Mission The purpose of NBLSA is to utilize the collective resources of the member chapters to: • Articulate and promote the educational, professional, political, and social needs and goals of Black law students; • Foster and encourage professional competence; • Improve the relationship between Black law students, Black attorneys, and the American legal structure; • Instill in the Black attorney and law student a greater awareness and commitment to the needs of the Black community; • Influence the legal community by bringing about meaningful legal and political change that addresses the needs and concerns of the Black community; • Adopt and implement policies of economic independence; • Encourage Black law students to pursue careers in the judiciary; and

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• Do all things necessary and appropriate to accomplish these purposes.

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43rd Annual National Convention

Dear Convention Registrants, Each spring, the National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA) holds its Annual Convention. This year, we'll convene March 9-13, 2011 in Houston Texas. The primary purpose of our National Convention is to conduct the business of NBLSA: electing officers, receiving reports, appointing staff members, and committees. Convention delegates will meet in efficient and productive plenary sessions to obtain a report on the current state of the organization and determine its future direction. Our National Convention is also an opportunity for selfenrichment. Members have an opportunity to meet and interact with NBLSA members from around the country; participate in competitions and workshops; and network with attorneys, legal employers, and other dignitaries. Our workshops will cover recent legal developments and issues affecting the black community and black attorneys. Finally, our National Convention is a time for reflection and celebration. It is a time to honor the organization's accomplishment. We recognize outstanding members, chapters, regions, and national initiatives that best exemplify NBLSA's purpose - to strive for racial equity and fairness throughout the legal system. We also reflect on the achievements and sacrifices of those that came before us and pay tribute to their legacy of service and excellence. Our 2010-2011 theme, “A Legacy of Empowerment�, provides a wonderful backdrop to engage in all three. For only by recognizing the trailblazing efforts of our predecessors and constantly working to improve ourselves do we obtain the knowledge and skills necessary to further NBLSA's mission and ensure its continued growth and longevity. Having a successful convention requires a tremendous level of effort and coordination from National and Regional board members as well as chapter leadership. In particular, I'd like to recognize the hard work of Mr. Chibundu Nnake, our National Convention Coordinator and Ms. Jeree Harris, our National Director of Programming. Their work for this event began in March 2010 and through their leadership, we are excited to offer our attendees a rewarding, and incredible experience. We created this guide to help you know what to expect and what to bring. We hope you find it helpful as you prepare to join us. We look forward to seeing you in Houston. Thank you for making our 43rd National Convention the best yet! Until Houston, Melinda M. Hightower University of Virginia School of Law National Chair, 2010-2011 National Black Law Students Association

H O T E L & T R A V E L

43rd Annual National Convention

Omni Galleria Hotel Four Riverway Houston, Texas 77056 Phone: (713) 871-8181 FROM GEORGE BUSH INTERCONTINENTAL AIRPORT (approximately 30 minutes) I-45 South to Loop 610 West (becomes 610 South); exit Woodway and make a right and proceed west for approximately two blocks. Turn left on Riverway, indicated by two large red walls on your left hand side. Continue on Riverway until you reach the hotel. Other transportation options from the airport: •

Taxi Service: Approximately $53 per way per person

Shuttle Service: Approximately $24 one way per person (Super Shuttle 1-800-258-3826)

Limo Service: Approximately $70 (arrange with concierge)

FROM WILLIAM P. HOBBY AIRPORT (approximately 25 minutes) I-45 North to Loop 610 West (becomes 610 North); Exit at Memorial/Woodway. Turn left at Woodway and proceed two blocks. Turn left on Riverway, indicated by large red wall. • Taxi Service: Approximately $44 one way per person • Shuttle Service: Approximately $19 one way per person DIRECTIONS FROM THE NORTH – DALLAS/FORT WORTH Take I-45 South to 610 West. Take 610 West to 610 South. Exit Woodway. At the traffic light turn right. Proceed 1/4 mile. Hotel entrance is on the left (watch for 2 large red stucco walls). DIRECTIONS FROM THE EAST – BEAUMONT, TX AND BATON ROUGE, LA Take I-10 West 2nd 610 South exit (approx. 20 miles past 1st exit). Take 610 South to Woodway. Turn right at the traffic light. Proceed 1/4 mile. Hotel entrance is on the left (watch for 2 large red stucco walls). DIRECTIONS FROM THE WEST – SAN ANTONIO Take I-10 East to Loop 610 South. Take 610 South to Woodway. Exit on Woodway. Turn right at the traffic light. Proceed for 1/4 mile. Hotel entrance is on the left (watch for 2 large red stucco walls). DIRECTIONS FROM AUSTIN Take 290 East to 610 South. Take 610 South exit Woodway. Turn right at the traffic light. The hotel entrance is on the left (watch for 2 large red stucco walls).

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43rd Annual National Convention

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The registration table will be open during the following hours: Wednesday, March 9, 2011

11:00AM - 05:30PM

Thursday, March 10, 2011

08:30AM - 05:30PM

Friday, March 11, 2011

08:30AM - 05:30PM

Saturday, March 12, 2011

08:30AM - 05:30PM

Sunday, March 13, 2011

09:00AM - 11:30AM

Check-in and receive your all-important attendee badge along with your convention bag, t-shirt, and program guide. Convention messages and lost & found will also be located at the registration desk.

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43rd Annual National Convention

We have three rewarding community service projects planned: Thursday, March 10, 2011 8:30am-11:00am Service Opportunity #1

Internet Safety Rally for Houston Public School Students

Service Opportunity #2

Houston Foodbank | Backpack Buddies Service Project

Service Opportunity #3

Habitat for Humanity ReStore Project

Volunteer opportunities are limited so sign-up online at today. Volunteers will receive an exclusive lunch, tour, and performance the Houston’s Ensemble Theatre.

Recommended Dress | Comfortable shoes, jeans, and your favorite BLSA shirt. Don’t have a BLSA Shirt? Not to worry. An embroidered NBLSA polo is exclusively provided to all Convention Community Service Volunteers.

43rd Annual National Convention


There will be four plenary sessions during convention: Plenary Session 1

Thursday, March 10th at 02:30PM

National Officer Floor Nominations

Plenary Session 2

Friday, March 11th at 02:00PM

National Chair Candidates’ Debate

Plenary Session 3

Saturday, March 12th at 10:00AM

Constitution & Bylaws Amendments

Plenary Session 4

Sunday, March 13th at 02:00PM

National Elections

Your chapter must fully attend 3 out of the 4 sessions to vote in the National Elections. All delegates who arrive on-time for Plenary Session 3 will be eligible for our complimentary airfare giveaway. Winners will be announced and airfare awards distributed during the plenary session.

Required Dress | Business Professional Attire. Regrettably, you will be denied admission, if not dressed appropriately. We thank you in advance for your understanding and your dedication to conducting the business of NBLSA. Guide to Convention | 7

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43rd Annual National Convention

There are over 15 panels and workshops that will take place during the 43rd Annual Convention. We encourage you to take advantage of them. Below are a few of the offerings: Breaking In: The Road to Legal Teaching Does Diversity Matter? Minority Hiring in Large Law Firms Census 2010 Aftermath: The Impact of Redistricting on Black Communities Racial Profiling in 2011: Immigration Laws and the Rise of Legalized Discrimination Career 360: Solo Practitioners' Roundtable Career 360: Judiciary Roundtable Career 360: In-House Counsel Practice Insight: Careers in Energy Law

Required Dress | Business Professional Attire preferred. Business Casual Attire accepted. Also, please remember to have your attendee badge prominently displayed as it is required to access all workshops and panels.

43rd Annual National Convention


There will be over 20 employers in attendance with a few interviewing onsite. Here are a few of the employers participating in the Career Fair:

FDIC Latham & Watkins Hunton & Williams Navy JAG Southern Poverty Law Center

Recommended Dress | Business Professional Attire. We strongly encourage you to make your best first impression on your prospective employer.

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43rd Annual National Convention


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Chair’s Poolside Welcome Reception Wednesday, March 9, 2011 Omni Houston Hotel 06:30PM - 08:00PM Recommended Dress | Casual. Think Saint-Tropez chic. Women: Sundresses, sandals, and hats Men: Linen pants, button ups, and shades *Please note that neither swimming nor swimwear is permitted.*

Welcome to Texas Reception Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Legacy of NBLSA Reception Friday, March 11, 2011

The Grove Restaurant | 1611 Lamar Street (Shuttle Provided) 06:30PM - 08:30PM

The African American Library at the Gregory School | 1300 Victor Street (Shuttle Provided) 06:30PM - 08:30PM

Recommended Dress | Business Professional Attire

Recommended Dress | Business Casual Attire.

These receptions take place outdoors, so please plan accordingly.

43rd Annual National Convention

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The Social Network

Wednesday, March 9, 2011 NBLSA Lounge | Omni Houston Hotel | Black Swan 07:30PM - 01:00AM Recommended Dress | Casual/Lounge Attire

Masked: Mardi Gras Masquerade Party Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Bell Tower | 901 W. 34th St 10:00PM - 2:00AM Recommended Dress | Cosmopolitan Chic Attire. Jeans, t-shirts, tennis shoes, or ball caps are not permitted for this event.


Friday, March 11, 2011 The Drake | 1902 Washington Ave 10:00PM - 2:00AM Recommended Dress | Club Attire

The Afterglow

Saturday, March 12, 2011 Omni Houston Hotel 10:30PM - 2:00AM Recommended Dress | Your call, but be respectful.

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43rd Annual National Convention

A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr. Luncheon Friday, March 11, 2011

Sadie T.M. Alexander Luncheon Saturday, March 12, 2011

12:30PM - 01:30PM

12:30PM - 2:00PM

Recommended Dress | Business Professional Attire

43rd Annual National Convention Awards Gala & NBLSA Hall of Fame Induction Saturday, March 12, 2011 07:30PM - 10:00PM Recommended Dress | Black Tie. Men: Tuxedos preferred or a black suit with a dark tie. Women: Floor length, evening gown preferred or a shorter, dressy cocktail dress.

Prayer Breakfast Sunday, March 13, 2011 09:30AM - 11:00AM Recommended Dress | Sunday Best Attire is preferred. Business Casual Attire is accepted.

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Registration Policy Please remember, only registered attendees displaying an attendee badge or holding a valid ticket are permitted to attend NBLSA Convention workshops, panels, lunches, and other ticketed events. Any person wishing to attend the NBLSA Convention must register. To assist our volunteers, please have your attendee badge prominently displayed. Registration is required even if you only plan to attend workshops. Complimentary day passes to workshops, panels, and networking events are available to our convention volunteers. Please visit http:// for more information.

Social Media Follow us on Twitter @NBLSA and tweet about your convention experience using #NBLSAhouston. Updates and announcements will be posted frequently, so please check often!

Live Reporting with our NBLSA Fellows

Be on the lookout for our NBLSA Fellows who are helping catalog the week with event coverage and special attendee interviews. If they ask to interview you, we hope you’ll take a moment to share your thoughts and experiences with us.

43rd Annual National Convention


Keynote Speaker Kim Keenan, is a native of Buffalo, New York. She is a graduate of Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service and the University of Virginia School of Law. After law school, she served as a law clerk to the Honorable John Garrett Penn in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. She is currently the General Counsel of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (“NAACP”). Prior to joining the NAACP, she was the principal of the Keenan Firm in Washington, D.C. where her practice has focused on complex medical malpractice litigation, mediation and arbitration, litigation consulting, and public speaking. Prior to establishing her own firm, she served in the litigation practices of two nationally recognized law firms for more than eighteen years. She was recently honored as a Washington, D.C. Super Lawyer and is recognized as a Top Lawyer by Washingtonian Magazine. In May 2007 the Women’s Bar Association named her “Woman Lawyer of the Year” for her contributions to the profession. She is currently the Immediate Past President of the District of Columbia Bar, the second largest jurisdictional bar in the country. Although she was the 38th President of the organization, her service marked the 8th time that a woman has served as president. Her career demonstrates a strong commitment to important issues affecting women and people of color, public service, and improving the legal profession. Ms. Keenan served as the sixty-second President of the National Bar Association (NBA), the oldest and largest bar association of lawyers of color in the world with a network of more than 50,000 lawyers, judges, and law students. She is the first woman from the District of Columbia to be elected to this position and only the eighth woman in the organization’s eighty-six year history to serve in the NBA’s highest elected office. During her tenure as President, the NBA deployed thousands of lawyers throughout the nation to educate voters regarding new voting laws. She was awarded the Maryland Bar Foundation’s Professional Legal Excellence Award for her national effort to provide nonpartisan voter education. She is also a Past President of the Washington Bar Association, one of the oldest and largest affiliates of the NBA which was founded in the same year of the NBA. Ms. Keenan is highly active in the District of Columbia community. In December 2007 she was nominated by the Mayor and confirmed by the District of Columbia City Council to the Board of Trustees of the University of District of Columbia. Since 2002, Ms. Keenan has chaired the District of Columbia Bar’s Landlord -Tenant Implementation Committee, which received the Frederick B. Abramson Award for superior service to the legal profession in June 2004. She is a member of the Women’s Bar Association and served as a speaker for the organization’s groundbreaking initiative Creating Pathways to Success, which focused on the advancement and retention of women in the legal profession. In 2006, Ms. Keenan was recognized by Girls Inc. for her work in law, policy, and as a mentor to women. She received the Distinguished Black Woman Award from Black Women In Sisterhood for Action (BISA) for her public service. She has served as Treasurer of the Bar Association of the District of Columbia, the largest voluntary bar in the District of Columbia and is the first African-American woman to serve in this position. She is a member of the Leadership Metropolitan Washington Class of 2000 and was elected a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation in 2001 in recognition of her professional attainment and distinguished service. We are very excited to have Ms. Kim Keenan as the keynote speaker at the 43rd Annual NBLSA Awards Gala on Saturday, March 12.

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43rd Annual National Convention

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Award Recipients

Justice Carl Stewart

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr. Award Recipient

Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange U.S. District for the Western District of Oklahoma

A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr. Award Recipient

Barbara Arnwine

Executive Director of The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Sadie T.M. Alexander Award Recipient

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Hall of Fame Award Recipients

Algernon Johnson Cooper Jr. Founder of NBLSA, National Chair from 1968-1969 Hall of Fame Inductee

Congressman Al Green Ninth District of Texas Hall of Fame Inductee

A Special Thanks to Our Convention Sponsors Title Sponsor Akin Gump Andrews Kurth Baker Botts BarBri Bracewell & Guiliani Cadwalader Crowell & Moring DLA Piper Fried Frank Golden State Foods Jackson Walker Jones Day Kaplan PMBR Latham & Watkins LexisNexis

Perkins Coie

Kilpatrick Stockton Kirkland & Elllis McGuire Woods Microsoft Navy Jag Paul Weiss Skadden Arps Southern Poverty Law Center Southwest Airlines Texas Southern University University of Houston Vinson & Elkins Wachtell Weil, Gotshal & Manges Wal-mart Stores

March 9-13 |Omni Galleria Hotel | Houston, TX |

2011 Guide to Convention  

2011 Guide to Convention

2011 Guide to Convention  

2011 Guide to Convention