The Black Law Students Association seeks to improve the social and academic experiences of Maurer’s Black students. Members are supported by BLSA through mentoring, programming, and community social events. Our organization is dedicated to our members’ well-being, promoting community, and participating in community service and social action issues. We want to improve the Maurer community and promote diversity in the legal profession.
Our members include students of African descent and/or students with a particular interest in the pan-African community. We are committed to identifying and articulating the needs as well opinions of the nation’s Black communities.
IU-INDY BLSA aims to provide cultural awareness and stimulation; build alliances among BLSA members, faculty of color, other students-of-color organizations, and alumni; provide academic and career support; and address community as well as political concerns of law students of African descent.
The Law School has a long history. We are the ninth-oldest law school in the country, having been founded in 1842. Our graduates have held positions of leadership in some of the country’s most prestigious law firms, from Wall Street to Main Street. They have created and nurtured successful businesses that power the global economy today. And they’ve chosen careers in government, on Capitol Hill, and on the front lines of advocacy for those who need it the most.
How our graduates have left their mark is a part of our proud legacy. They include the first Japanese-American admitted to the bar in the United States, the first African-American to serve on any state supreme court, Wisconsin’s first female chief justice, and Indiana’s first female chief justice. US Supreme Court Justice Sherman Minton, US Representative Lee Hamilton, and US Senator Birch Bayh are among our alumni.
We are also proud to have pioneering scholars in a variety of fields. Our research expertise is strongest in intellectual property, international and comparative law, cybersecurity, environmental, and criminal law, as well as tax, business, and public interest law.
We continue to build on these traditions with each new class. We seek exceptional individuals: students who want to be a part of a vibrant community of smart, motivated, and supportive classmates who are eager to learn and make a difference outside of the classroom.
On December 5, 1842, Professor David McDonald delivered his first lecture to the class of Indiana University’s new Law Department, the ninth law school in the country and the Midwest’s first state law school. There is no record of how many students were in that first class, but the first graduating class in 1844 had five.
During its early years, the Law Department thrived under the direction of McDonald and other distinguished jurists, and after the Civil War, enrollment soared, graduating 32 students in 1871, accounting for more than half of the university’s total graduates.
The trustees reestablished the law department as a law school in 1889, naming David D. Banta as the school’s first dean. The Association of American Law Schools was founded in 1900, and Indiana Law was one of the 25 founding members. In 1900, the law school had 125 students, three faculty members, and a law library with 4,000 volumes. Indiana Law moved to Maxwell Hall in 1908, where it remained until the mid-1950s.
Indiana Law graduated its first woman, Tamar Althouse, in 1892, and its first Asian-American, Masuji Miyakawa, in 1905. Sam Dargan, the school’s first African American graduate, graduated in 1909. Indiana Law’s international program began in 1907, with a large number of students from the Philippines graduating.
The Indiana Law Journal was founded in late 1925, and the first student editorial board included Pearl Lee Vernon, Indiana Law’s only woman at the time, who graduated first in her class.