Mission: The Black Law Students Association (BLSA) of the University of California, Los Angeles is a component of a nationally incorporated organization. The recruitment and admission of Black students into the law school are two of the foremost concerns of BLSA. BLSA is interested in the admission of persons who demonstrate an active desire to contribute to the Black community.
Meet the Board
2020-2021 BLSA Executive Board
Justin Jackson, Co-Chair
Justin is a second-year law student at UCLA School of Law from Marietta, GA. In 2019 he graduated from the University of Chicago with a B.A. in English. In addition, he was a Captain of the Men's Basketball team and a member of the Dean's List. Prior to law school, Justin worked as an organizing intern for Chicago United for Equity and as a Public Service Intern for the City of Chicago.
This past year, Justin was a member of the Dean's Advisory Committee, a Law Fellows Mentor, and a member of the Supreme Court Basketball team. He is a staff editor for Volume 68 of the UCLA Law Review and he intends to specialize in Critical Race Studies and Business Law. This past summer Justin was a summer associate at Milbank LLP.
Milan Smith, Co-Chair
Milan Smith is a second-year law student at UCLA School of Law, from Los Angeles, CA. She graduated from UCLA with honors with a B.A. in Political Science and from the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy with a Master of Public Administration with a public policy focus. Prior to law school, Milan worked at Loeb & Loeb LLP where she focused on professional development, marketing, and pro bono initiatives.
In addition to serving as Co-Chair, Milan is a staff editor for the UCLA Law Review and the National Black Law Journal. This past summer, she worked as a legal intern at TikTok and a summer associate at Allen Matkins.
Hope Bentley, Academic Chair
Hope Bentley is a second-year student at UCLA School of Law from Kansas City, Missouri. She graduated from TCU with a bachelor's degree in Psychology, and minors in Criminal Justice and Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies. During college, she interned with Polsinelli Law Firm's pro-bono department, representing parents and children in Family Drug Court in Kansas City. This past summer, she was an extern at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Hope is a staff editor for Volume 68 of the UCLA Law Review and the National Black Law Journal. She will also participate in the CRS Race, Work and Economic Justice Clinic that works with the Los Angeles Black Workers Center. Hope is a Law Fellow Mentor and played on the Supreme Court Basketball team. She is a part of the Critical Race Studies Specialization and David J. Epstein Public Interest Law and Policy Program. In the future, she hopes to represent defendants in the criminal justice system and fight to dismantle systemic racism and mass incarceration.
Moriah Denton, External Relations Chair
Moriah Denton is a second-year law student at the UCLA School of Law. Moriah graduated summa cum laude from Howard University with a Bachelor of Arts in Strategic, Legal, and Management Communications. Prior to law school, Moriah worked as a legal assistant at a personal injury law firm in Silver Spring, MD. Moriah has interned for the District of Columbia Office of the Attorney General and DC Volunteer Lawyers Project. In addition to being UCLA BLSA's External Relations Chair, Moriah is a staff editor for Volume 68 of the UCLA Law Review and a Law Fellow mentor. She has also participated in the UCLA El Centro Re-Entry Legal Clinic. This past summer, Moriah interned with the California Office of the Attorney General.
Maya Hairston, 3L Representative
Maya Hairston is a third-year student and David J. Epstein Public Interest Law and Policy Scholar at the UCLA School of Law. Maya graduated summa cum laude from George Mason University's Honors College with a Bachelor of Science in Conflict Analysis and Resolution. Prior to law school, Maya interned for the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia and did public policy work for the Constitution Project.
In addition to being UCLA BLSA's former treasurer, Maya is the Sponsorship Coordinator for Volume 68 of the UCLA Law Review, sits on the Critical Race Studies Student Committee, and plays for the Supreme Court Basketball team. She is a Law Fellow mentor and participated in the CRS Race, Work, and Economic Justice Clinic at the Los Angeles Black Workers Center last year. Maya is also the co-founder of Black & Ivy, a non-profit whose mission is to educate, support, and inspire Black high school students to pursue an advanced degree through scholarship, social media, public panels, and discussions. She is interested in tax law and specializes in Critical Race Theory. This summer, Maya returned to Morgan, Lewis & Bockius in Washington, DC for her second summer. She accepted an offer to join their tax practice following graduation.
Lydia Heye, Secretary
Lydia Heye is a second-year law student at UCLA School of Law. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Portland with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Prior to law school, Lydia interned for U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon with the constituent service team and on advising the office on how to better serve their BIPOC constituents.
Lydia is interested in environmental justice and is pursuing a specialization in both Critical Race Studies and Environmental Law. This past year she served as the student representative on the UCLA Law Curriculum Committee and volunteered with El Centro's Public Counsel CARES clinic. This summer Lydia worked as a fellow with the Promise Institute for Human Rights on their International Criminal Law and the Protection of the Environment Project and will be a 2L Summer Associate at Stoel Rives in Portland next year. In addition to serving as the Secretary of BLSA, she is a staff member of the National Black Law Journal.
Keith Lawton, Recruiting Chair
Keith Lawton is a second-year law student. He graduated from the University of Toronto. Prior to law school, he was a line cook in Canada, taught English in Takayama, Japan, worked in finance recruitment in Tokyo, and worked in sales and event planning in the coin-op gaming industry in the Bay Area. Along with serving as BLSA's Recruitment Chair, Keith is a UCLA Law Fellows mentor and will be working with the Race, Work, and Economic Justice Clinic at the Los Angeles Black Workers Center. This past summer he worked as a summer associate at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton working in their Trademark and Copyright practice group.
Bradan Litzinger, Treasurer
Bradan Litzinger is a second-year law student specializing in Critical Race Studies and enrolled in the David J. Epstein Public Interest Law and Policy Program at the UCLA School of Law. Bradan graduated from the University of Chicago with honors in Public Policy and Psychology. Prior to law school, he worked as Legislative Director for a City Councilmember in Berkeley and Director of Operations for a San Francisco education startup. In addition to being UCLA BLSA Treasurer, Bradan is also a staff member on the National Black Law Journal and Volume 68 of the UCLA Law Review. During 1L, he worked as a student researcher with the Criminal Justice Program during fall semester, and as a volunteer coordinator in the spring with the Labor and Economic Justice Clinic, assisting Unite Here Local 11 union members complete unemployment applications during the COVID-19 pandemic. This summer, Bradan worked as a judicial intern with the Administrative Law Judge Division of the CPUC and hopes to practice plaintiff-side litigation in employment, civil rights, and mass torts.
Emani Oakley, Social Media Chair
Emani Oakley is a 2L at the UCLA School of Law in the Critical Race Studies program. Before law school, she lobbied on higher education policies on behalf of students and served as a board member of Legal Education Association for Diversity, an organization focused on providing students of color free access to resources to attend law school. She graduated with honors from UC Santa Barbara where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Communication. In addition to her role in BLSA, she currently serves as a staff member of UCLA Law Review Volume 68, Managing Editor of the UCLA Journal of International Law and Foreign Affairs, a Writing Advisor, and is a UCLA Law Fellow Mentor. During her 1L summer, she worked with Public Counsel as an Equal Justice America Fellow. Emani has an interest in civil rights law, human rights law, and civil litigation.
Latrel Powell, Political Activism Chair
Latrel Powell is a second-year law student at UCLA School of Law. Latrel graduated summa cum laude from San Diego State University as the Most Outstanding Graduate of the College of Arts and Letters with a Bachelor of Arts in both Political Science and Africana Studies, as well as a minor in Interdisciplinary Studies. Latrel served as the statewide policy advocate for students in higher education across the state of California, worked in numerous capacities as a community volunteer and leader for underrepresented youth, and conducted independent ethnographic research on race relations and space identity in post-apartheid Cape Town, South Africa - all of which have reinforced his passion for public service and community-centric program development.
Latrel is a David J. Epstein Public Interest Law and Policy Scholar. He is interested in community lawyering, metropolitan inequality, and youth justice. Latrel spent this past summer as a law clerk for Public Advocates on their Metropolitan Equity Team primarily working on tenant's rights and organizational development in response to the George Floyd uprisings, and is excited to be serving as the BLSA Political Activism Chair this upcoming year!
Janay Williams, Alumni Relations Chair
Janay Williams is a second-year law student at the UCLA School of Law. Janay graduated with multiple honors from UCLA with a B.S. in Biology. Prior to law school, she spent two years working as a public high school biology and chemistry teacher in Southern California, which motivated her to pursue a legal career focusing on intellectual property. In addition to serving as the Alumni Relations Chair, she is also a staff editor of the UCLA Law Review and the National Black Law Journal, and a Writing Skills Advisor. She is currently a graduate student representative for the ASUCLA Board of Director, a non-profit board which runs all UCLA enterprises, and UCLA licensing. Janay is a Keker, Van Nest & Peters Diversity Scholar, UCLA Graduate Student Opportunity Fellow, and Class of 2018 Scholarship Recipient.
BLSA hosts an array of events throughout the year that provide academic resources, networking opportunities, career insights, and tools to be a voice on campus. Here are just some of the events we have had so far.
BLSA Past and Current Events
UCLA BLSA & Cappello Program in Trial Advocacy Present: A Discussion with Black Trial Lawyers (Sept. 4, 2020)
Watch the video.
A discussion with Bart H. Williams, Commercial Litigator at Proskauer, Mercedes A. Cook, Los Angeles County Deputy Public Defender, and Olu K. Orange, Civil Rights Litigator at Orange Law Offices, about their experiences as Black Trial Lawyers.
BLSA Scholarship Fund
UCLA BLSA has endowed a scholarship for an incoming UCLA School of Law student with financial need, who has demonstrated a commitment to racial justice and continuing those pursuits beyond law school. This student will likely serve a leadership role with BLSA during their time at UCLA Law. Awards from this fund will be made by the UCLA Law Office of Admissions and Financial Aid in consultation with the student leaders of BLSA.