The National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA) is a 501(c)(3) corporation and the nation’s largest student-run organization representing nearly 6,000 minority law students from over 200 chapters and affiliates throughout the United States and six other countries.
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
- do all things necessary and appropriate to accomplish these purposes.
In 1968, Algernon Johnson (“AJ”) Cooper, 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.