Spring 2018


MARSHALL: A Screening & Conversation


  • Friday, March 23, 2018 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:45 p.m.


Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice, Rotunda & Theatre

5998 Alcala ParkSan Diego,CA92110


Presented by the University of San Diego School of Law and the Black Law Students Association

Years before Thurgood Marshall persuaded the United States Supreme Court to outlaw school segregation, years before he became a member of the Supreme Court himself, he founded the NAACP's Legal Defense and Educational Fund. In that capacity, he traveled all over the country giving legal assistance to criminal defendants in racially charged cases.

MARSHALL is the true story of his greatest challenge in those early days, a fight he fought alongside attorney Sam Friedman (Josh Gad), a young lawyer with no experience in criminal law: the case of black chauffeur Joseph Spell (Sterling K. Brown), accused by his white employer, Eleanor Strubing (Kate Hudson), of sexual assault and attempted murder.


5:30 p.m. Registration Opens

6:00 p.m. Welcome and Screening (the movie will start at 6:05pm)

8:00 p.m. Panel discussion and Q&A

8:45 p.m. Reception with food and cash bar (ID required)

9:45 p.m. Event ends


Roy L. Brooks, Warren Distinguished Professor of Law at USD and author of numerous books, including Racial Injustice in the Age of Obama and Structures of Judicial Decision Making, The Racial Glass Ceiling: Subordination in American Law and Culture (Yale University Press, 2017). In this work, Brooks explores socio-legal, socio-cultural, and socioeconomic conditions confronted by African Americans today, and offers solutions that draw upon distinctively American virtues.

Register here: 

                 The Color of Law: An Evening with Richard Rothstein: Thursday, April 5, 2018

University of San Diego School of Law, Grace Courtroom, 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Richard Rothstein, author of the New York Times bestseller The Color of Law, and senior fellow at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, will discuss his book which details how local, state, and federal policies led to a segregated America.

The racial divide in America's cities -underscored by violence in Ferguson, Baltimore, and Charlotte - is not just the product of individual prejudices, income disparity, or the actions of developers, banks, and other private institutions. In a discussion of his new book The Color of Law, Richard Rothstein makes the case that our federal, state, and local governments shoulder even greater blame. Through adoption of laws and policies that promoted or facilitated discrimination for decades, the government sanctioning segregated public housing and demolished integrated neighborhoods. 

Register here:

Spring 2018

Past Events 

James Forman, Jr.: Crime and Punishment in Black America: Wednesday, March 14, 2018 

IPJ Peace &Justice Theater, 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Critics have assailed the rise of mass incarceration, emphasizing its disproportionate impact on people of color. As James Forman, Jr., points out, however, the war on crime that began in the 1970s was supported by many African American leaders in the nation's urban centers. In Locking Up Our Own, he seeks to understand why. In the face of skyrocketing murder rates and the proliferation of open-air drug markets, black officials believed they had no choice. But the policies they adopted would have devastating consequences for residents of poor black neighborhoods.

#MeToo Panel: Wednesday, February 28th

Warren Hall 2B, 12pm - 12:50pm

USD's Employment & Labor Law Society and Black Law Students Association Present: #MeToo - A Panel on Sexual Harassment Law.
The Panel will discuss the state of sexual harassment law, how we got to this moment, and what may happen next. Please come prepared for questions for our panelists!

Connie Broussard - Broussard Law Group
Adrienne Conrad - Jackson Lewis
Lei-Chala I. Wilson - Law Offices of Lei-Chala I. Wilson

Duane Bennett: Monday, February 26th 

Warren Hall 2A, 12:00pm - 12:50pm

Bennett is the former City Attorney for the city of Oceanside and retired General Counsel for the Port of San Diego. He was the first African American appointed as the City Attorney in the County of San Diego, and he is the only African American to serve as General Counsel/Port Attorney for the Port of San Diego. 

He also served as an Assistant City Attorney, Police Legal Advisor and criminal prosecutor and has broad based governmental law, employment, contracts, land use, insurance, civil rights and civil litigation experience.
Bennett has been actively involved in litigation related to civil rights, due process and equal protection. 

Bennett has participated in several civil rights actions involving police departments. He served as one of Rodney King's attorneys in his civil rights/excessive force lawsuit against the Los Angeles Police Department. He has also worked on many civil rights actions involving police departments for violations of the Fourth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. 

Bergman Memorial Lecture: Seeking Equality in Our Schools - Mendez v. Westminster 

Thursday, February 15, 2018 : 5:30pm - 7:30pm

Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice, Theatre & Rotunda

USD School of Law is holding a reception and panel discussion in honor of Mendez v. Westminster - a 1947 federal court case that challenged Mexican remedial schools in Orange County, California. In its ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in an en banc decision, held that the forced segregation of Mexican American students was unconstitutional and unlawful.

U.S. District Court Judge Paul J. McCormick ruled, "The equal protection of the laws pertaining to the public school system in California is not provided by furnishing in separate schools the same technical facilities, textbooks and courses of instruction to children of Mexican ancestry that are available to the other public school children regardless of their ancestry. A paramount requisite in the American system of public education is social equality. It must be open to all children by unified school association regardless of lineage." It was the first ruling in the U.S. in favor of school desegregation.


5:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Hosted hors d'oeuvres, beer and wine

6:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Mendez v. Westminster Panel Discussion

This event is open to the public, USD faculty/adminstrators, and all undergraduate, graduate, and law students.


Sandra Robbie

  • Writer/Producer of Emmy-winning documentary
    Mendez v. Westminster: For All the Children/Para Todos los Ninos
  • Founder/Director, Mendez Museum Without Walls


Hon. Frederick P. Aguirre (Ret.)
Orange County Superior Court

Hon. Gonzalo P. Curiel
U.S. District Court, Southern District of California

Robert C. Fellmeth
Price Professor of Public Interest Law
Executive Director, Center for Public Interest Law
USD School of Law

Joi Spencer
Associate Dean and Professor
USD School of Leadership and Education Sciences

Crawford High School Law Academy Career Fair: Friday, February 9th

Will C. Crawford High School, 10:30am - 1:00pm

The Legal Careers Fair is the perfect opportunity for BLSA to reach out to students and educate them on what USD has to offer! 

Fall 2017

Past Events

Fall 2017 USD Diversity Reception: Thursday August 31, 2017; Dentons US LLP

Amazing opportunity to network with attorneys and area law students at this prestigious firm. Refreshment and appetizers will be provided. Business attire required.

4655 Executive Drive, Suite 700 San Diego, CA 92121

Fall 2017 1L Welcome Reception: Thursday August 17, 2017; USD Degheri Alumni Center

Join us in welcoming the students to USD and start the year off with laughter and inspiration. Refreshments will be served

Spring 2017

Western Region Black Law Student Association Los Angeles Job Fair: August 5, 2017; UCLA School of Law

An opportunity for law students to network with Los Angeles and Southern California firms and companies seeking diverse candidates.

Student Leadership Breakfast: April 21, 2017: BLSA is awarded USD Student Organization of the Year!

USD BLSA would like to thank Co-Presidents Curtis Jackson and Justin Shields and the entire organization for their hard work in achieving this prestigous honor. A first in USD BLSA history!

Judge Robert Wilkins, D.C. Circuit Court Book Tour & Panel: March 1, 2017; Grace Courtroom

The Honorable Judge Robert Wilkins shared the story of his ascention to the D.C. District Court; his experience fighting for civil rights as a young attorney; and discussed his book on the obstacles faced by many in their attempts to establish what is now known as the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

USD BLSA Judicial Panel: Pathway to Becoming a Judge: February 22, 2017; Grace Courtroom

Every spring USD BLSA hosts a judicial panel in line with the law schools Judicial Reception. This year BLSA welcomed The Honorable Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel, U.S. District Court Southern District of California, and, The Honorable Roderick Shelton, Superior Court of San Diego County.  

USD's BLSA Open Mic Night: February 23, 2017; Student Life Pavilion

In conjunction with USD's Pride Law organization, the Open Mic provided a forum for students to express themselves through spoken word, music and film. An event open to the public, many from the larger University community attended what is hoped to be an annual event.