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
2021-2022 BLSA Executive Board
Amber Dean, Co-Chair
Amber Dean is a second-year law student at UCLA School of Law. She is from San Leandro, CA. She graduated from Vassar College with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a History Correlate in 2018. After graduation, she worked as a paralegal at a small legal reentry nonprofit in Oakland, CA. Its mission is to provide free legal services to Californians with criminal records. While there, she helped run expungement clinics in Northern, Central and Southern California. In 2020, Amber was awarded the Erika J. Glazer Endowed Scholarship for her work in Los Angeles’ Black Community.
This past summer, she interned at the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office in their General Litigation department. At the City, she drafted internal and external memos to help defend the City against civil lawsuits. Amber is currently a member of UCLA’s Mock Trial team and she is enrolled in UCLA’s Critical Race Studies Specialization.
Taylor Roberts-Sampson, Co-Chair
Taylor Roberts-Sampson is a second-year law student at UCLA School of Law. She graduated magna cum laude from Columbia University with a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics and Anthropology. In addition to serving as Co-Chair for BLSA, Taylor is a Co-Chair of the Queer and Trans People of Color Collective (QTPOCC) at UCLA Law. Taylor serves as Production Editor for the Dukeminier Awards Journal of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Co-Chair of the Let’s Go Liberation Clinic in partnership with the Los Angeles LGBT Center. She is a Writing Advisor for first-year law students. Taylor is an Arnold & Porter Diversity Scholar and a California Change Lawyer recipient. She spent her 1L summer as a summer associate at Covington & Burling and accepted an offer to return for her 2L summer in their New York and San Francisco offices. At UCLA, she specializes in Critical Race Theory and is interested in litigation and workplace investigations.
Alexandria Ellison, Alumni Relations Chair
Alexandria Ellison is a second-year law student at UCLA School of Law. She was born and raised in Boston, Ma. She graduated magna cum laude from Emerson College with a Bachelor of Science in Political Communication. While in undergrad, Alexandria was the Commencement Student Speaker. She also performed a Tedx Talk about the alarming rate that Black women are missing. Before beginning law school, Alexandria worked at Spyglass Media Group; and served as the Vice-Chair of Public Relations for Stonewall Democrats, the most prominent LGBTQ+ Democratic Organization in Southern California. She also worked at BuzzFeed Motion Pictures as a Video Production Fellow.
In addition to serving as the Alumni Relations Chair, Alexandria also serves as the Diversity and Inclusion Chair for the UCLA Trial Team. This past summer, Alexandria worked as an intern for the UCLA Tribal Legal Development Clinic and as a judicial extern for Judge Magistrate Elizabeth Stafford. During the summer of 2022, she will be serving as a summer associate at Cox, Castle, and Nicholson.
Adel Kelifa, Treasurer
Adel Kelifa is a second-year law student at UCLA School of Law. He was born and raised in Torrance, CA. He graduated from the University of San Diego with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Prior to law school, Adel interned with the Orange County Public Defender’s office and the International Rescue Committee’s El Cajon office.
Aside from serving as Treasurer, Adel is also a member of the UCLA Law Review and enrolled in the Business Law & Policy specialization. He spent the past summer interning with the Worker Rights and Fair Labor Section of the California Department of Justice. Adel will be a Diversity Fellow and member of the Venable LLP summer associate class in their Los Angeles office this upcoming summer.
Nicole Powell, Political Activism Chair
Nicole Powell was born and raised in Los Angeles, by her parents and her grandmother. Nicole received her undergraduate degree in Communication Studies and Journalism at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in 2016. Nicole received her graduate degree in Theological Studies, with a focus on African-American Religious Studies, from Harvard University in 2018.
Nicole is honored and humbled to be a student at the UCLA School of Law. She is thankful to her family and her community for investing and pouring into her. At UCLA Law, Nicole is a member of the UCLA Law Review, the National Black Law Journal, serves as the Political Activism Chair for the Black Law Students Association, and is enrolled in the Critical Race Studies Specialization. Nicole spent the summer of 2021 working full-time for a communications trade association that represents independent cable, phone, and internet companies which provide services to rural consumers. Nicole worked part-time as a research assistant for Vice Chancellor Spain Bradley, supporting her work towards the forthcoming book, Global Racism. During the summer of 2022, Nicole will serve as a summer associate at Crowell & Moring. She is grateful to the rest of the BLSA executive board for sharing communion with her, for the work that they create, and for the future worlds that they imagine.
Charles Watkins, Academic Chair
Charles A. Watkins II is a second-year law student at UCLA School of Law. He was born and raised in Atlanta, GA. In 2019, he graduated magna cum laude from Georgia State University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting. During his undergraduate career, Charles served as the Vice President and Reporting Officer for Beta Alpha Psi, the honorary accounting society for business students. Prior to law school, Charles work at Krevolin and Hourst LLP as a legal intern and accountant. Following this, he worked with Cox Communications as a full-service accountant.
In addition to serving as the academic chair, Charles is also a member of UCLA’s National Black Law Journal and enrolled in the Taxation specialization. This past summer Charles worked with Christian Legal aid of Los Angeles. During the Summer of 2022, Charles will be a summer associate at Cooley LLP in their San Diego office.
Janve Sobers, Co-Chair of the Activism Committee
Lataysia Starks, Recruitment Chair
Lataysia Starks is a second-year law student at UCLA School of Law. She graduated from the University of Alabama in Huntsville with a BSBA in Marketing and an MBA in Management. In addition to serving as Recruitment Chair, Lataysia is a staff member for Volume 69 of UCLA Law Review and the National Black Law Journal, as well as a Writing Skills Advisor. Immediately before law school, she worked as a Senior Procurement Consultant at a Fortune 500 company.
At UCLA, she is involved in many associations, including the Entertainment Law Association and the Law and Entrepreneurship Association. She is also Co-Social Chair of UCLA Law’s Womxn of Color Collective. Lataysia is pursuing both the Entertainment Law Specialization, as well as the Business Law Specialization. This past summer, Lataysia worked at Apple as a Commercial Law Intern and at Mosley & Associates in their entertainment and labor and employment groups. This upcoming summer, she will be a Summer Associate at Sheppard Mullin’s Century City Office working in their Corporate and Securities practice group.
Regina Campbell, Social Chair
Hope Bentley, 3L Representative
Hope Bentley is a third-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. Her first summer, Hope was an extern for a Judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. This past summer, she was a law clerk for the Federal Public Defender's Capital Habeas Unit in Los Angeles.
Hope is the Symposium Editor for Volume 69 of the UCLA Law Review and is planning the 2022 Symposium. For the past two years, Hope has also been 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 legal system and fight to dismantle systemic racism and mass incarceration.
Milan Smith, 3L Representative
Milan Smith is a third-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 the Sponsorship Coordinator for the UCLA Law Review. During her 1L summer, she worked as a legal intern at TikTok and a summer associate at Allen Matkins. This past summer she worked as a summer associate at Paul Hastings where she will be returning after graduation.
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 2020-2021 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.