Jones School of Law’s Black Law Students Association named National Chapter of the Year

Ernestine S. Sapp Chapter of NBLSA, Faulkner Law: 2018-2019 Executive Board L to R: Noelle Sillmon (Secretary), Donavon McGuire (President), Kymberly Porter (Treasurer), and Shevon Thomas II (Vice President)

Ernestine S. Sapp Chapter of NBLSA, Faulkner Law: 2018-2019 Executive Board
L to R: Noelle Sillmon (Secretary), Donavon McGuire (President), Kymberly Porter (Treasurer), and Shevon Thomas II (Vice President)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Faulkner University ‘s Thomas Goode Jones School of Law is proud to announce their Ernestine S. Sapp Chapter of Black Law Students Association (BLSA) was named as the National BLSA Medium Chapter of the Year.

Black Law Students Association (“BLSA”) at JSL was established to address the community and political concerns surrounding minority law students. BLSA is committed to the achievement of all law students and has developed a blueprint for law school success through an open academic enrichment program. In addition, members strive to create professional alliances between BLSA, faculty, other student organizations, and members of the legal communities in Alabama.

Last week, BLSA held its annual dinner where the announcement was celebrated.

The 2018-2019 BLSA president, Donavon McGuire, will be graduating in May and said being recognized was a team effort.

“Receiving this recognition is a great honor, but it is really a team effort of past and present members and those who have supported us along the way,” he said. “Being at the national conference where universities from across the nation were represented including Ivy League schools and to hear our name called was amazing. Just to have the platform where our chapter and Jones School of Law was recognition speaks volumes for JSL’s and Faulkner’s support of minority students. “

McGuire, who is a native of Selma, Ala. said the chapter went a new direction this year and focused everything they did as a chapter around family.

“We wanted every activity to be centered on supporting students’ needs both academically and overall personal wellness especially including those who didn’t live here locally.”

He hopes to return to Selma after graduation as an “agent of justice and change.”

“I want to show the young men in the community who are minorities that they can change the narrative. Maybe seeing me as a lawyer can help them envision themselves as lawyers too and that yes, they can achieve that for themselves.”

The chapter is named for Ernestine S. Sapp, the first African American attorney to graduate from JSL in 1976. Sapp serves as “of counsel” at Gray, Langford, Sapp, McGowan, Gray, Gray and Nathanson law firm in Tuskegee and she is a certified mediator. She works alongside senior partner, attorney and Civil Rights leader, Fred D. Gray who was one of the first black men in the Alabama Legislature since reconstruction from 1970 to 1974.

Sapp has been admitted to the Supreme Court of Alabama, the Supreme Court of the United States, U.S. District court for the Middle, Southern and Northern Districts of Alabama, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for Eleventh Circuit. She remains a committee member for the Jones School of Law Advisory Committee among several other professional affiliations.

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