2L Summer 2014 Clerkship Sponsored by NBLSA & Northwestern Mutual

Northwestern Mutual is pleased to partner with the National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA)  to provide a 2014 summer clerkship opportunity to a second-year law student. Through the partnership, the NBLSA assists Northwestern Mutual in selecting a NBLSA member student to join Northwestern Mutual’s summer program for a 10-week clerkship located at Northwestern Mutual’s headquarters in Milwaukee, WI.  For more details on this opportunity, see the following information.

Clerkship Description and Responsibilities

Northwestern Mutual’s law clerks are exposed to the full range of the law department’s practice. Law clerks work with experienced attorneys in the in-house law department and with management and staff of the company on a variety of assignments.

The law clerk will work approximately 30 hours per week, paid approximately $30 per hour, and may work with all practice areas of Northwestern Mutual’s law department, including: insurance, investments, real estate, litigation, general corporate law, and taxation. The clerk will be paired with a mentor attorney during the summer. All work assignments are cleared through the Clerkship Coordinator, and clerks will have weekly workload meetings with the Clerkship Coordinator.

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SAVE THE DATE- NBGSA 26TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE- May 28-June 1, 2014, Baton Rouge, LA

The National Black Graduate Student Association (NBGSA), the nation’s largest interdisciplinary graduate student organization will be celebrating its 26th annual conference from May 28-June 1, 2014, in Baton Rouge, LA. Our theme this year is:  Different Paths, One Journey: The Many Experiences of Black Graduate Students.

This event will host participants from around the country. Conference attendees will participate in poster and oral presentations, paper competitions, and engage in workshops designed to aid with their overall graduate experience. Additionally, an impressive number of keynote speakers composed essentially of highly regarded scholars and academicians will deliver speeches and share their success stories.
For more more information on how to register, please visit
For more information on how to send your abstract for oral presentation, poster presentation, paper competition, workshop, etc…, please visit http://nbgsa.org/nbgsc2014/agenda-programs/call-for-papers

Get me off this island!

Why opponents of the Affordable Care Act are fighting tooth and nail to protect a failing system rather than support what is now law.

By: Li Litombe, J.D. Candidate 2015, City University of New York School of Law

Imagine there is an island in the middle of the ocean. The inhabitants of the island have been informed that it is sinking. Island officials, composed of members of the Blue party and the Red party, vote and a majority agree on a solution. They arrange that a rescue vessel will pick up all the islanders. Immediately after the vessel arrives, the Red party officials complain, “What is this vessel doing here?!” They claim the boat has deplorable conditions. They say the boat is not fast enough and has too few amenities. Nevertheless, in the midst of all the complaints and debates, many islanders are getting on the boat. Why? Because no matter how much the two parties complain, the island will surely sink. So why not get off of the island and employ the only sensible solution. Why not accept that the solution that everyone voted on is here? Rather than waste time and effort searching for blame, why not fix the issues the boat has?

The Affordable Care Act (the Boat) was signed into law by President Obama in 2010. The purpose of the law was to address the failure of the American Healthcare System (the Island) to provide affordable comprehensive health coverage. One way it would achieve its goal would be by lowering the uninsured rate through an expansion of  public and private insurance coverage, and reducing the costs of healthcare for individuals and the government. Prior to becoming law the Affordable Care Act (ACA) went through the legislative process. After enactment the ACA survived constitutional challenges in the Supreme Court. One would think after such a rigorous process officials would work cohesively to ensure the success of what is now law. Wrong! Instead of working to ensure the success of the new law, opponents have focused their efforts on outright attempts at sabotage or assigning blame for its shortcomings. The few alternatives that have been proposed fail to ensure what the Affordable Care Act will ultimately achieve, access to healthcare for millions of Americans.

The “Everything is Fine” Approach Continue reading

“Breaking into the Legal Academy” Program at Thurgood Marshall School of Law

On Thursday, February 26, 2014, the Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law and the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT) will host “Breaking into the Legal  Academy” from 1:00-5:00 p.m.  This session is designed for practitioners, recent graduates, and law students of color who are considering law teaching.  This half-day session is part of the annual Southeast/Southwest People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference.

If you are interested in a career in legal academia, whether as an administrator, librarian, or faculty member (including research and writing, clinical, and traditional faculty), this session is for you.  Speakers and discussants include administrators, hiring committee chairs, and current law professors.  Discussion materials will focus on the expectations, roles and responsibilities of the different teaching positions.  In addition, the nuts and bolts of the various application and interview processes will be discussed.

THE SESSION IS FREE.  However, we do ask that all participants register for the session so that we may plan accordingly. (Snacks, drinks and coffee will be provided.) You may also choose to register for the entire conference, where there will be opportunities to present scholarly works in progress.  You may register for the session or the conference at http://www.seswpocc.org/. ”

If you have any questions about the “Breaking into the Legal  Academy” session, please contact either Professor SpearIt at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law (SpearIt@tmslaw.tsu.edu(713) 313-7276) or Professor Nareissa Smith at North Carolina Central University School of Law (nsmith55@nccu.edu919-530-5483).  For moreinformation about the conference, please visit the conference website http://www.seswpocc.org/ or the SE/SW facebook page –https://www.facebook.com/SESWPOCC.

We’re an Entrepreneurial Culture. Get Entrepreneurial

This piece, written by Susan Carter Liebel, discusses tapping into our entrepreneurial nature with a synopsis of the current legal market and clear objectives to follow for successful solo practice. An expert on the topics of solo practice and working for smaller firms, Liebel is the CEO of Solo Practice University, an online educational program which masterfully tackles the questions new solo practitioners often face.  

I remember watching Ben Bernanke on 60 minutes and after all the gloss and political correctness he said two things which struck me.  First he made it very clear we are in for a rough ride the next four to five years and that was quite an admission.  (I personally believe we are going to be in for a rough ride the whole decade and for a whole host of reasons).  And then he said the magic words:

We’ll be fine eventually as we are an entrepreneurial culture.

Yes, Ben, we are.

And on that same day, renowned economic expert, Harry Dent Jr. wrote:

In business, creative entrepreneurs will be the big winners as they were in the down economies of the 1930s and 1970s.

I’m not a fan of Bernanke (he was apparently an economic advisor contributing to Japan’s bad decisions which have led to their decades long economic woes. As a Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System on February 20, 2004, Bernanke gave a speech: The Great Moderation, where he postulated that we are in a new era, where economic volatility has been permanently eliminated! (Really, Ben?) However, Bernanke has given us a clue as to our future.  He is basically saying it’s every person for themselves.

And the recent numbers support this: Continue reading

Arent Fox’s 9th Annual Diversity Scholarship for 1Ls

Arent Fox is accepting applications for the 9th Annual Diversity Scholarship Program.  We will award a $15,000 scholarship to three first-year law students in our Washington, New York, and Los Angeles office.

Arent Fox’s 2014 Summer Program will last for 10 weeks; from May 19 through July 25, 2014.  The summer associate salary is $3,000 per week, and the scholarship recipient will receive the $15,000 award in July 2014.  All scholarship recipients are expected to participate in the 2014 Summer Program.

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Morale Activities for Your Local BLSA Chapter

By Gobriella Davis, National Pre-Law Division Director

With the busy and bustling schedules of law students, many may find it hard to preserve the camaraderie with friends and members of local BLSA chapters.  Below are some ideas for boosting morale in your law school community or BLSA chapter to keep everyone excited and encouraged!

  • Mentors & Mentees—Assign a “mentor” to each new student—this may be determined based on area of interest, age, or things in common
    • At the end of a 2 or 3 month period schedule a mentor/mentee activity & follow-up to thank the mentors and be sure the mentees feel welcomed
  • Secret Santa
  • Birthday Cards—physical or electronic
    • Include the family by sending spouses and/or children birthday wishes
  • Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt
  • Gold Star Award—given to someone who was especially helpful that day/week
    • Bonus: recipients names can be entered into a monthly/quarterly drawing for an additional prize
      • i.e. gift certificate, paid lunch, etc.
  • Group Breakfast/Lunch
  • Group Happy Hours
  • Charitable Fundraising—i.e. canned food drives, toys for tots, etc.
    • Winning department gets to leave an hour early from work
  • Creativity Contests
    • Pumpkin Carving
    • Easter Egg Basket Decorating Contests
    • Bake Offs
    • Halloween Costume Contests
  • Student Appreciation Day
    • Bring in outside activities on a designated day to thank the entire office for a job well done
      • i.e. licensed masseuse, yoga instructors, caricature artists, etc.
  • Child & Family Care Resource & Referral Program—assists in helping students with children find child care & other family related services in areas surrounding their job or home
  • Holiday/Special Occasion Food Baskets
  • Holiday Gift Wrapping Services—gather volunteers from the office who are especially good at gift wrapping and throw a party to wrap gifts
  • Praise Board—post notes from other students who have had positive things to say about another student or member of the faculty, etc.
  • Team Jersey Day—designate a different day for as many sports as possible

Living Diversity

By Gobriella Davis, National Pre-Law Division Director

Throughout my life I have been continually and habitually a member of diverse communities.  As a Black woman, a double minority in today’s professional workforce, I have gained essential life experiences that have equipped me with a unique prospective as a woman and person of color, and have been critical to my success as an aspiring attorney.  People of diverse backgrounds have always been an integral part of the history of human existence.  It is a personal goal to continue this legacy, encourage equality and diversity throughout the legal profession, and continuously pave the way for other like-minded individuals. Continue reading

Maximizing Your Externship Experience

By Gobriella Davis, National Pre-Law Division Director

Many law students welcome the opportunity to gain practical work experience — but working without compensation may not fit into their financial plan.  Externship programs are a great medium for students to receive experience, employers to obtain hardworking students, and possibly lead to post-graduate jobs.  However, externships must be in accordance with several rules and regulations.

An Externship Program should be conducted in accordance with Executive Committee Regulation 6-7.10 of the Association of American Law Schools and American Bar Association Standard 305.  Standard 305, which can be located in the attached ABA document, describes the experiential, academic, and instructional requirements that law schools and students must meet to secure ABA approval.  In addition, Interpretation 305-3 states that a student may not earn externship credit and compensation for the same work.  However, an extern may be reimbursed for reasonable out-of-pocket expenses related to the externship. Continue reading

Full-Time Employee + Full-Time Law Student = INSANITY?

By Shunta Tidwell, National Web Content Specialist

How do you survive? How have you not had a heart attack and died? Law school by itself is no joke. Being a full-time employee while being a full-time law student is just plain crazy. Why do you do that to yourself?

These are just a few questions I hear on a regular basis regarding my current life choice. I attend the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Tampa Bay campus where I am finishing my second year. I have read more cases and written more briefs than you could possibly imagine. I have been victim and survived the infamous socratic method with finesse. I have participated in Moot Court and counseling competitions winning them. I have been active member of several organizations on campus. Black Law Students Association, Student Bar Association, and Military Veterans Law Student Association just to name a few. I also work 40 hours at a prominent law firm in Tampa, FL sometimes even completing some overtime.

How do I do this? Continue reading