BLSA: Balancing the Scales
By Sandy Boisrond
The Auburn Hills Chapter of the Black Law Students Association hosted its Fourth Annual Balancing the Scales event on Sunday, June 23, 2013 at the Crowne Plaza Auburn Hills. Professor Lewis Langham served as the master of ceremonies, and guided the crowd through a wonderful evening of networking, food, and accolades. Our featured guest speaker, a Cooley Graduate, was the Honorable Vonda Evans of the Wayne County Circuit Court.
Over 50 people were in attendance, including the likes of the Honorable Joseph J. Farah, Judge of the 7th Circuit Court out of Genesee County, Nijad and Alyia Hakim Mehanna of Hakim & Mehanna PLLC, Matthew J. Brown of Brown and Brown PLC, Cooley Professor Stevie Swanson, and Auburn Hills Dean John Nussbaumer. As well, the participants of the CLEO Program, Cooley's College Prelaw Summer Institute, were in attendance thanks to the generosity of Cooley Law School.
Judge Vonda Evans captured the theme of BLSA's annual event by focusing her speech on the importance of having "balance" both during our law school education and as future practitioners. She discussed her experiences prior to law school, her journey leading up to the bench, and how honored she felt to receive BLSA's invitation to serve as this year's featured guest speaker. Judge Evans' story is one of persistence, and she shared with us various personal examples of how she took hold of her life and found her "balance," all the while commending Cooley for giving her the opportunity to pursue her legal education.
Back in 2010, BLSA Auburn Hills initiated the process with Cooley to create an endowed scholarship fund called "Balancing the Scales", with the intent of raising $25,000 to form the principal amount of the endowment fund. The goal was to have the scholarship awards paid from the earnings on the endowment principal plus any other expendable funds obtained. The scholarship is to be awarded periodically to qualified and deserving students at Cooley Law School who are active members of BLSA-AH, and the Balancing the Scales dinner is BLSA's annual fundraising event to promote contributions to the fund.
This year's event was coordinated by the efforts of our Associate Dean for External Affairs and Senior Counsel, James Robb, Balancing the Scales Committee Chair and BLSA Secretary, Michael Lamb, BLSA President Sandy Boisrond, and BLSA Advisor Leisha Evans. As well, a number of BLSA members contributed to the planning and presentation of this year's dinner including Andrew Mattias, Callana Davis, Marrena Van Horn, Amber Rouse, Darnell Smith, and D'Erra Jackson.
To wrap up the evening, we acknowledged the contributions of various individuals. First, we recognized the 2013 scholarship recipient, D'Erra Jackson of Clevland, Ohio, currently in her 3rd term. Next, we celebrated the accomplishments of the 2012-2013 BLSA Executive Board and Advisors: President, Sandy Boisrond; Treasurer, Amber Rouse; Secretary, Michael Lamb; Parliamentarian, Hope Campbell; Community Service Chair, Khari Hatchett; and BLSA Advisors, Professor Kevin Scott, Professor Tammy Asher, and Leisha Evans, Assistant Director of the Center for Ethics, Service, and Professionalism. Last, but certainly not least, we presented the 2013-2014 BLSA Executive Board: President, Darnell Smith; Vice President, D'Erra Jackson; Treasurer, Amber Rouse; and Secretary, RaShaunda Weaver. The newly-elected officers will take office in the Michaelmas term.
If you missed this year's Balancing the Scales dinner, we hope you'll be checking the BLSA Calendar for information on the 2014 dinner. The Balancing the Scales Scholarship Fund is maintained by Cooley Law School, so you may make your charitable donation to this fund at any time by making your check payable to Thomas M. Cooley Law School (Memo: Balancing the Scales) and mailing your donation to Alumni Office, Thomas M. Cooley Law school, P. O. Box 13038, Lansing, MI 48901. Stay connected with BLSA programs and events by joining the BLSA TWEN page, "Black Law Students Association - Auburn Hills Chapter."