MSU Law BLSA members win regional moot court competition

By Kate Hall

Black Law Students Association (BLSA) President Kiara Swinton and BLSA member Nadia Vann won the 2016 Frederick Douglass regional moot court competition in Chicago. Adjunct Professor Goldie Pritchard served as their faculty advisor, and Professors Pucillo, Lawrence, Zimbelman, and Copland sat in on practice rounds to ready the students for competition.

In reaction to the team’s victory, Professor Zimbelman said, “Both Ms. Vann and Ms. Swinton were exceedingly well-prepared. They analyzed the problem from every angle, and they were able to present thoughtful persuasive oral arguments. MSU College of Law could not ask for better representatives at the national competition in Baltimore.” The 2015-2016 problem focuses on felon disenfranchisement and the team will compete at nationals from March 9-13 in Baltimore.

In addition to MSU Law BLSA’s moot court success, Myles Baker, BLSA Vice-President, was just appointed as Sub-regional Director within the Midwest organization. He will serve as a first point of contact for BLSA chapters in Michigan and Ohio when communicating with national MWBLSA. He will also ensure the organization’s goals and objectives are implemented throughout chapters in this subregion. Miles said he and the other BLSA students are “glad to represent MSU.”

Swinton and Vann’s journey to nationals is especially significant because Michigan State University College of Law’s chapter of BLSA has been nominated for Chapter of the year. The criteria for this award include service hours, academic performance, official chapter enrollment, and more. Since the chapter began in 1968 at Detroit College of Law, MSU Law’s BLSA has produced diverse and collaborative programs, helped recruit students to MSU Law, and promoted efforts within the law school to aid underrepresented groups.

These individual student successes come at an exciting time for BLSA. The group just concluded its 22nd annual Diversity Week, a weeklong event BLSA sponsors to address issues of diversity within the law school.

In reflection of BLAS’s recent success Swinton stated, “We could not have achieved any of this without the hard work and dedication of our membership, faculty, and staff who help us to foster BLSA’s pillars of recruitment, retention, and educational development of minority students. We are beyond grateful for everyone’s support.”