Black Law Students Association sweeps regional competitions

Black Law Students Association
Black Law Students Association

For the second consecutive year, Florida State University College of Law’s Black Law Students Association (BLSA) won first place in two major advocacy competitions and won a Chapter of the Year award at the Southern Region Black Law Students Association (SRBLSA) Regional Convention. The 2016 meeting was held in Durham, North Carolina from January 20-24.

Florida State’s BLSA won first place in the Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition. A total of 16 law school teams competed, including teams from Emory University, University of Alabama, University of Florida, University of North Carolina, and University of Tennessee. Winning team members were third-year student Mario Errico from Buffalo, New York, first-year student Raymond Jack from Jacksonville, first-year student Dominique Mortimer from Miami, and first-year student Jessica Murray from Miami. They were coached by Florida State law alumna C. Erica White (’01), who is a chief attorney at the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation.

Another team from Florida State, coached by alumnus Kevin Alford (’15), placed third overall in the same competition. The students on that team were third-year student Ellen LeGendre Carlos from Pensacola, second-year student James Falls from Jacksonville, first-year student Tawanna Franklin from Greenville, North Carolina, and third-year student Justin Schneider from Fort Lauderdale.

Black Law Students Association
Front row (L-R): Mitchell, Carlos, Mortimer, Errico, Fuller and BLSA President Anika Boyce. Back row (L-R): Schneider, Murray, Franklin, Falls and Jack.

Florida State’s BLSA Moot Court Team also won first place in the Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition, an appellate advocacy competition. Thirteen teams competed, including Emory University and University of Alabama. Winning team members were second-year students Matletha Fuller from South Bay and Aqueelah Mitchell from Miami. The team also won the award for Best Petitioner’s Brief and Fuller earned the competition’s overall Best Oral Advocate award. Florida State law alumna Karla D. Ellis (’96), who coached Florida State’s 2015 BLSA Moot Court Team to a national title, and Professor Nat Stern coached the team.

Florida State’s BLSA also received the Chapter of the Year award for chapters of medium size. The award is based heavily on an organization’s community service and educational outreach activities. This is the fifth time in seven years that Florida State has won the regional title.

“FSU BLSA continues to excel on the regional and national stages and is an example for our entire law school community,” said Dean Donald J. Weidner. “We are extremely proud of the student advocates, their dedicated coaches, and all the BLSA members.”

Florida State’s BLSA Teams will compete for the related national awards in March at the National Black Law Students Association Annual Convention in Baltimore, Maryland.