By Cherina Clark
During the fall of my first year at Suffolk Law, I attended my first meeting of the Black Law Students Association (BLSA). It ended up being one of the best decisions of my law school career. BLSA was where I first met students outside my 1L section. BLSA was how I met alumni and mentors who helped me figure out life after law school. And BLSA was how I gave back, as a mentor and leader helping promote black excellence and success beyond the classroom.
When I think of why I joined an affinity group while at Suffolk Law, I think of growth. Joining an affinity group allowed me to grow in many aspects:
- Growing your Network: One of the biggest bonuses to joining an affinity group is the network you build. Aside from meeting other student members, affinity groups are constantly engaging alumni members and affinity bar associations, providing students with great contacts for the future. Networking is a “must do” activity in law school and affinity groups make it much easier to have networking experiences because of their many efforts to ensure members meet attorneys in the Greater Boston legal community.
- Growth through Mentorship: Another great aspect of affinity groups is the never ending opportunity to mentor and be mentored. Throughout my time as a member and leader of BLSA, I received mentorship from upperclassmen, alumni, and other leaders in the legal profession. My mentors helped me not only academically but professionally as well, helping me build my career and network. Affinity groups also allow you to stretch yourself, giving you the space to not only be mentored but to mentor others. I enjoyed the opportunities BLSA gave me to mentor and guide other law students throughout their time here at Suffolk.
- Growth in Leadership: Joining an affinity group also allows you to become a leader and innovator. BLSA taught me how to manage others, organize events and programs; and most importantly it allowed me to grow as an advocate for others. Being a leader in an affinity group allowed me to promote black excellence and success beyond the classroom.
As a graduate of an HBCU, being a leader in an affinity group allowed me to grow in my efforts to promote black excellence, advocate for others, and be a part of the progression of diversity and inclusion here at Suffolk.
Cherina Clark JD/MBA’17 is the Director of Student Engagement and Inclusion at Suffolk Law. Cherina graduated from Hampton University (an HBCU) and earned a dual JD/MBA from Suffolk Law and Suffolk’s Sawyer Business School. At Suffolk, she was the President of the Black Law Students Association for two years in a row.