St. Louis, MO – February 11, 2013 - Washington University's Black Law Students Association held its 9th annual BLSA Alumni Banquet on February 2nd, 2013, at the Randall Gallery in St. Louis. The event raised funds for the Washington University BLSA Scholarship which will be awarded to local high school students in the spring, while celebrating the achievements of African-American Washington University School of Law alumni and other exceptional members of the legal community.
The Honorable Donald G. Wilkerson, Magistrate Judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, delivered the keynote address. Judge Wilkerson focused on the importance of attorneys finding ways in their everyday practice to engage in public service.
A number of local attorneys and organizations received awards, including the Legal Employer Diversity Recognition Award which was awarded to Armstrong Teasdale LLP. The Honorable Donald G. Wilkerson received the Outstanding Achievement in Service Award. Adeyinka Faleti, a prosecutor at the Circuit Attorney's Office, was awarded the Young Alumni Award. The Professional Mentorship Award was presented to Errin Braddock, employment counsel at Enterprise Holdings, Inc. Jovita Foster, an equity partner at Armstrong Teasdale, was awarded the Outstanding Achievement in Practice Award. Jaren Hagler, a Washington University law student, was awarded the Commitment to Community Service Award.
The Honorable Kathy A. Surratt-States and the Honorable Shirley A. Padmore Mensah were special honorees of the evening and were recognized for their recent exceptional achievements. Judge Padmore Mensah took the oath of office September 10, 2012 to begin her new duties as United States Magistrate Judge. Before joining the Court, Judge Mensah was a partner with Husch Blackwell LLP in Clayton, Missouri. Judge Surratt-States was sworn in as a U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the Eastern District of Missouri in 2003, and became the Chief Judge on February 1st, 2013. She was the first African-American appointed to the bankruptcy bench in the Eighth Circuit.
A number of law firms sponsored this year’s event, including: Stinson Morrison Hecker LLP; Husch Blackwell LLP; Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, P.C.; Thompson Coburn LLP; Armstrong Teasdale LLP; Paul Hastings LLP; HeplerBroom LLC; and Williams Venker & Sanders LLC.