Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Conference Targets Aspiring Black Lawyers

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Boston, MA -- The 14th National Black Pre-Law Conference and Law Fair 2018, sponsored by AccessLex Institute, is the nation's premier information-sharing and networking empowerment event for aspiring Black lawyers. The event will take place from Friday, November 9, 2018 to Saturday, November 10, 2018 at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education and Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

This one-of-a-kind, world-class conference focuses specifically on reaching out to African Americans interested in becoming lawyers in order to provide them with game-changing "insider" information, resources, and connections to increase their chances of success in the challenging journey ahead to lawyerhood. This year marks its fourteenth consecutive year with a powerful weekend of motivational keynote sessions, informative panels and workshops, unprecedented networking opportunities, and other worthwhile educational activities.

This year's schedule is jam-packed with everything any aspiring lawyer would need to know before deciding to pursue this tough and highly competitive path. There will be thought-provoking panel discussions made up of experienced law school administrators and accomplished and knowledgeable law students and lawyers from across the nation. Key information will be shared about being competitive in the law school admissions process, financing a legal education, preparing for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), writing a compelling personal statement and diversity statement, succeeding as a Black law student inside and outside of the classroom, winning in the critical areas of professionalism, etiquette and mandatory soft skills, and utilizing one's legal training to make a difference in the Black community.

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Several dynamic, nationally-known and well-respected attorneys will serve as featured keynote speakers, and share powerful words of wisdom, encouragement and stories of their own personal journeys to and through law school and in the profession. This year's extraordinary lineup includes Dennis W. Archer, Esq., the first African American President of the American Bar Association and former Detroit Mayor and Michigan Supreme Court Justice (Detroit, Michigan), Charles R. Davidson, J.D., Ph.D., Director, Pre-Law Institute and Center for Post-Graduate Opportunities, CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice (New York, New York), Lisa E. Davis, Esq., Partner (Entertainment Group), Frankfurt Kurnit Klein + Selz PC (New York, New York), Conway Ekpo, Esq., Executive Director, Legal Counsel, Morgan Stanley and Founding Member of 1844 (New York, New York), Nichole Francis Reynolds, Esq., Vice President, Public Policy, Mastercard (Washington, DC), Stephanie Robinson, Esq., Lecturer on Law, Harvard Law School and Faculty Dean, Harvard College (Cambridge, Massachusetts), Jessica Soban, Esq., Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives and Admissions, Harvard Law School (Cambridge, Massachusetts), Marlen D. Whitley, Esq., Senior Corporate Counsel, Weedmaps (Irvine, California), and Karen Wishart, Esq., MBA, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, Urban One, Inc. (Washington, DC).

Special guest speakers, who are all influential and visionary leaders, will also address prospective law students including: Sheriece M. Perry, Esq., President, Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association, Jonathan M. Albano, Esq., President, Boston Bar Association, Christopher A. Kenney, Esq., President, Massachusetts Bar Association, Tinia Snow, Esq., President, Massachusetts Black Women Attorneys, James R. Hackney, Esq., Dean and Professor of Law, Northeastern University School of Law, Angela Onwuachi-Willig, Esq., M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D., Dean and Professor of Law, Boston University School of Law, Vincent D. Rougeau, Esq., Dean, Boston College Law School, Christopher Escobedo Hart, Esq., Diversity and Inclusion Committee Co-Chair, Boston Bar Association, Stesha Emmanuel, Esq., Executive Vice President, Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association, and Brandon Cahee, National Chairperson, National Black Law Students Association.

These listed speakers do not include the many other knowledgeable and successful panelists and presenters that will also selflessly take part to provide insight, perspective and guidance to conference registrants. Attendees will also be able to meet with representatives from well over 100 law schools and organizations at the Law School Recruitment Fair. Moreover, pre-law attendees will have the opportunity to participate in the signature one-on-one pre-law admissions and preparation advisement clinic, and get help with and a quick review of their resumes and personal statements during the practical assistance session. What's more, there will be attorney-led career networking small group discussions where students can have personal interaction and ask questions of attorneys who are practicing or have practiced in their areas of interest. Furthermore, law school aspirants will be able to make connections and create the start of accountability partnerships through assigned groups and mentoring relationships through networking activities during informal and structured networking breaks and other events.

The conference will end on a high note with The Pursuit of Justice Awards where legendary and luminary Black lawyers will be honored including Cornell William Brooks, Esq., former President of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and current Professor of Practice in Public Leadership and Social Justice at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, the Honorable Arthur L. Burnett Sr., National Executive Director of the National African American Drug Policy Coalition, Inc. and the country's first Black United States Magistrate Judge, and Kathleen N. Cleaver, Esq., Senior Lecturer in Law, Emory University School of Law. Then, there will be the Aspiring Lawyers Pinning Ceremony where our honorees and other current lawyers will pin aspiring lawyers with eagle pendants as a sign of support to express the community's faith, high expectations and confidence in them and to stress to them the fact that more Black lawyers are needed and that they have a responsibility to give back and serve once they achieve their goals.

Conference organizational partners include the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association, Massachusetts Black Women Attorneys, National Bar Association, National Bar Association - Corporate Law Section, Massachusetts Bar Association, Boston Bar Association, National Black Law Students Association, Mid-Atlantic Region of the National Black Law Students Association, Northeast Region of the National Black Law Students Association, Harvard Black Graduate Student Alliance, Harvard Black Law Students Association, Harvard Graduate School of Education Black Student Union, Harvard Black Pre-Law Association, Boston College Black Law Students Association, Boston University Black Law Students Association, Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association, Suffolk University Black Law Students Association, New England Law | Boston Black Law Students Association, Northeastern University Black Law Students Association, Council on Legal Education Opportunity, and the Law School Admission Council. Event sponsors include title sponsor AccessLex Institute, as well as copper sponsors White & Case LLP, Mastercard, and the United States Air Force JAG Corps, and contributing sponsors Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association, Ropes & Gray LLP and Ballard Spahr LLP.

With only 5% of all lawyers being African American while making up nearly 14% of the population, the need for greater minority representation and meaningful diversity and inclusion in American law schools and in the legal profession remains high. This conference has positively impacted thousands of African American aspiring lawyers from across the country and is poised to make a difference to many more this year and for years to come. According to conference founder and organizer Attorney Evangeline M. Mitchell, "This event is mindset-shifting and life-changing for so many aspiring Black lawyers and with well over 100 Black law students and lawyers volunteering their time and energy towards pouring into our attendees, it demonstrates a collective commitment and social responsibility to give back and contribute to the encouragement and empowerment of future Black lawyers. We are not just complaining that we need more Black lawyers but we are all proactively contributing to doing something about it."

All aspiring lawyers are encouraged to register and attend this intensive, inspirational and impactful conference taking place at the world's most famous university - Harvard. High school students, college students and graduates, working professionals, career changers, multicultural, career and pre-law advisors, as well as supporters and parents are all invited to take advantage of the amazing benefits this conference offers. Admission is completely free of charge and open to the public. Everyone is welcome. Space is limited, therefore online registration is strongly encouraged. If space is available, walk-in registrants and latecomers will be accommodated to the extent possible.

Further information on the National Black Pre-Law Conference can be found at the official conference website at or by calling 281-944-LAW4.

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Posted by community events coordinator, Nzinga Lonstein Austin, is a prolific blogger who writes on the entertainment industry and issues for people with developmental and physical challenges.

She is presently in high school looking to have a career in video, film, and media. You can see more of her entertainment writing on Lonstein Movies.

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