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UIC Law Students Discuss the Importance of Black Representation in the Legal Field

Troy Edwards and Moniel Sanders

UIC Law students Troy Edwards and Moniel Sanders were first runner ups at the Thurgood Marshall Moot Court Competition at the Midwest Black Law Students Association (MBLSA) Regional in Detroit, Michigan. They will now move on to compete at the national competition in Houston, Texas on March 8-10, 2024. Coached by Danielle McCain, interim director of the Writing Resource Center, and assisted by Adjunct Professor Tom Bradley, both students exhibited immense determination, skill, and adaptability while competing, which played a crucial role in their success.

The Midwest Black Law Students Association is a vital organization dedicated to empowering and supporting Black law students across the Midwest region. Through its network of chapters, MBLSA fosters a sense of community and provides resources, mentorship, and opportunities for professional development. By advocating for diversity, equity, and inclusion within the legal profession, MBLSA plays a crucial role in promoting social justice and advancing the interests of underrepresented communities.

As minority students, Troy and Moniel understand the necessity of spaces such as the MBLSA as well as representation in the field of law in general. With only five percent of all attorneys being black, it’s more imperative now than ever to show students they can thrive and succeed in a prestigious career such as law.

Only 5% of attorneys are black and a lot of us are first generation, so when we see each other, it encourages us to keep going and motivate each other.

Moniel Sanders, 3L

During their time at the MBLSA conference, Troy and Moniel had the opportunity to meet various black appellate attorneys. This allowed them to gain valuable insight from people who look like them and have experienced the same hardships many Black law students face. It also stood as a testament to the fact that Black people can succeed and have long careers in the field of law.

The community of Black attorneys and law organizations also play a crucial role in filling the various financial and resource gaps that minority students experience. Many organizations give out scholarships that are used to buy books, offset the cost of tuition and funding through summer internships. These types of resources and opportunities play a crucial role in the success of our law students.

It is imperative for me to be as visible as possible, while striving for excellence. My prayer is that my journey, work ethic, and service to others serve as a guiding light of motivation and inspiration for those who follow, demonstrating that anything is possible.

Troy Edwards, 2L