A number of student affinity groups work together to co-sponsor social, academic, and professional events, and they have mentoring programs and hold networking events and career panels with alumni interested in helping students establish careers. Additionally, BU Law’s affinity groups work closely with local and national organizations that promote their missions—meaning you’ll begin building a network across the country just by being involved.
BU Law’s eight affinity groups include:
Asian Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA)
APALSA’S mission is to bring to light issues facing the Asian American community to help establish a balance between it and mainstream society. In so doing, APALSA hopes to help its members define their roles not only in the legal community, but in the larger community as well. APALSA accomplishes these goals by sponsoring social activities for its members, as well as networking opportunities within BU Law and beyond. Examples include:
- Meet the Firms: an event where we bring in attorneys from many of the largest law firms in Boston to discuss recruiting and to provide students with an opportunity to network. MTF consists of a panel including heads of recruiting, partners, and associates from various Boston law firms that is followed by a networking reception.
- Greater Boston APALSA Conference: a conference that unites the APALSA Chapters of several Boston-area law schools. The conference consists of various panels that discuss working as a minority lawyer in different legal fields and also includes a speed networking event and reception.
- APALSA Mentorship Kick-Off Dinner: an annual event where APALSA matches 1L students with upperclassmen to provide new students with mentors that will guide them in their law school journey and provide them with career advice. The event takes place at a local restaurant that serves delicious Asian cuisine.
Black Law Students Association (BLSA)
A member of the National Black Law Student Association, this organization serves to promote awareness of race and relationship issues in the American legal system. BLSA is also committed to volunteering in the community. Sample events hosted by BLSA include:
- Annual Conference and Awards Gala: Every spring BLSA hosts a one-day conference designed to inspire and cultivate the next generation of black lawyers. It is an opportunity for BU Law students to network with BU Law alumni and community leaders. The gala recognizes leaders in the legal community and those individuals and organizations who have contributed to BU BLSA’s success.
- BLSA Buddies Mixer and other socials: BLSA offers a mentorship program in which 1Ls are paired with a 2L or 3L. BLSA buddies offer advice about transitioning to law school, outlining, exams, and much more. BLSA hosts various mixers throughout the year to foster a strong community.
- Resume Review and Mock Interview Workshops hosted by local law firms: BLSA partners with local law firms to host resume reviews and mock interview workshops during spring semester. This is an opportunity for 1Ls to be introduced to attorneys and get great advice before interviewing season.
Jewish Law Student Association (JLSA)
The Jewish Law Student Association (JLSA) is an organization working with Jewish students at BU School of Law to help them achieve their social, cultural, religious, and professional networking goals. This group is open to all students and alumni, giving all an opportunity to connect on a personal level and learn more about modern Judaism in law and society.
Latin American Law Students Association (LALSA)
Open to all School of Law students, this group seeks to enhance camaraderie and to ensure a cultural society responsive to the needs of Latino American law students. Recent events hosted by LALSA include:
- Judge Juan R. Torruella (’57) at BU Law: LALSA hosted distinguished BU Law alumnus Judge Juan Torruella (’57) during Latino Heritage Month to discuss his experiences as the first and only Latino on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.
- Career Development Panel Series: LALSA invites several distinguished members of the legal community to discuss various issues impacting career development for law students, including the difference between litigation and transactional work, judicial clerkship opportunities for diverse students, and branding yourself in the legal community.
- Inter-LALSA Salsa: BU LALSA joins with other Latino law student organizations in the Boston area, including Harvard, Boston College, New England, and Suffolk, for a night of salsa dancing in downtown Boston.
Middle Eastern & South Asian Law Students Association (MESALSA)
This organization promotes the professional development and cultural needs of its members, increases awareness of Middle Eastern and South Asian culture throughout the BU Law community, and maintains affiliations with the Boston-area Middle Eastern and South Asian legal community. Regularly held events include:
- Diwali and Eid Celebration: a collaborative event celebrating both the Hindu festival of lights, which signifies the victory of light over darkness, and the Islamic Eid al-Adha Festival of Sacrifice. Members come together to share their celebrations of faith and culture with music, food, and conversation.
- MESALSA Mentorship Brunch: foster sense of community amongst our group members, allow them to share and reflect on their 1L experiences. This brunch is both a welcome-back-from-break/you’ve-survived-1L celebration, and also a nice social outing to let our 1L members know that MESALSA is an outlet for them to share and discuss any issues, whether they be academic, career-oriented, or purely social.
- OCI Tips and Resume Review: There is so much information thrown to the 1Ls that it can get overwhelming to even think about the On-Campus Interviewing (OCI) process. We hope to streamline some of the OCI chaos and provide a smaller, more targeted event for our members. We have attorneys from the South Asian Bar Association and various Boston firms come in and help review resumes and share their own experiences with the OCI process.
Native American & Other Indigenous Peoples Law Students Association (NALSA & Peoples)
Boston University Native American Law Student Association & Peoples serves to educate and foster discussions about American Indian or tribal law issues. Regular events hosted by NALSA & Peoples include:
- NALSA Fall Lecture: NALSA works to bring in a leading expert on Indian Law to give a short lecture on a topic of their choice. In Fall 2014, NALSA was proud to host N. Bruce Duthu, the chair of the Native American Studies department at Dartmouth College and an internationally recognized leading scholar on Indian law. Past lectures have included tribal justices and heads of Indian-focused non-profits.
- NALSA Thanksgiving: NALSA is proud to host BU Law’s annual Thanksgiving meal! This event aims to bring the entire BU Law community together for a time of food, fellowship, and education.
- Kurdish New Year: For the past several years, NALSA has hosted a Kurdish New Year meal, featuring seasonal cultural food and relevant discussion. This event focuses on the legal problems facing Indigenous communities worldwide.
OutLaw (LGBTQ Student Organization)
OutLaw is Boston University School of Law’s student group for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning, and allied students. OutLaw provides leadership and educational opportunities and strives to connect Boston University School of Law to the GLBTQ legal community. Sample events include:
- Fireside Chat: a networking with local LGBTQ alumni of BU Law.
- LGBTQ Panel Series: Each semester, we host scholars, lawyers and community leaders to discuss hot topics related to LGBTQ rights.
- Winter WhiteOut: Each spring we celebrate our school’s strong commitment to the LGBTQ community by hosting intercollegiate party at a local LGBT establishment. We also use this event as an opportunity to introduce students that do not identify as LGBTQ to Boston’s queer community.
Women’s Law Association (WLA)
The mission of the BU Law Women’s Law Association (WLA) is to promote a recognition and understanding of the unique contributions and the position of women in the law school setting, the legal community at large, and the global community in general. In accordance with that mission, the Women’s Law Association facilitates communication and discourse on legal issues concerning women, and strives to improve student life for female law students through speakers/panel events, volunteer activities, as well as informal social gatherings with BU Law administration, faculty, alumnae, and student mentors. Examples of recent events include:
- Female Faculty Meet & Greet: WLA members have the opportunity to mingle with BU Law’s accomplished female faculty members. Each year, we invite a keynote speaker to address topics relevant to being a woman in law school and within the legal field. Women faculty members also share their advice and experiences with students.
- Alumni Career Panel: The panel consists of five accomplished BU Law alumnae who address issues they have faced as women in the legal community. We select attorneys with diverse legal careers, ranging from prosecutors, associates and partners at large firms, corporate counsel, and attorneys in other public and private sector fields.
- Critical Conversations: 1L Courses: Law professors talk about the intersection between the courses they teach and issues relating to gender, race, and other forms of discrimination.