Peter A Allard School of Law

Reflections on the 2024 Black Law Students' Association of Canada Conference

Farhia Mohamed

Farhia Mohamed

Allard Law student (2L)

Feb 29, 2024

Allard Law students at the Black Law Students' Association of Canada national conference in Toronto.
Allard Law students at the Black Law Students' Association of Canada's 33rd annual national conference. This year's conference took place from in Toronto from  February 15-18.


This year's Black Law Students’ Association of Canada (BLSA Canada) conference in Toronto saw the highest attendance yet from UBC BLSA to date, with 25 JD students and two LLM students taking part. The conference spanned four days, filled with events, panels and informal socials, where we met Black lawyers and law students from all across Canada. This year's conference also achieved its highest attendance since its inception 33 years ago, with an impressive 600 attendees. Among my friends at Allard who were visiting Toronto for the first time, there was palpable excitement. 

The conference featured engaging panels covering topics including alternative pathways with a JD, generative AI, legal tech and innovation, and Black voices in legal academia, which discussed the experiences of Black law professors. The career fair offered another unique opportunity to connect with representatives from a variety of law firms, where Black lawyers and articling students shared their experiences working within their respective firms. I spoke with one associate and asked her how she chose her practice area, and she gave an insightful answer about the importance of enjoying the work you do, but also the team you are a part of. Through the multitude of panels and events, it was apparent that the connections the audience had with the speakers were deeper and more meaningful due to our shared experiences.

The entire conference was carefully thought out to cultivate an environment that celebrated the accomplishments of Black people in Canada.

My favourite panel was the ‘Sister to Sister panel,’ which offered a more intimate setting, where Black female lawyers shared their experiences working in law, the challenges they faced, and how they overcame them. When students had the opportunity to ask the panelists more intimate questions about their legal journeys, each of the panelists was open and transparent about their experiences in law. One student in the audience posed a particularly memorable question about navigating situations where someone makes an inappropriate or offensive comment — particularly in the workplace. A lawyer on the panel advised the student to remain kind, yet feel assured to address any remark made, stressing that everyone deserves to feel comfortable at work. 

Beyond the insights we gained from the talks and panels, the entire conference was carefully thought out to cultivate an environment that celebrated the accomplishments of Black people in Canada. For example, on day two, there was a marketplace featuring Black-owned businesses, with one stand filled with books by Black authors, such as The Autobiography of Malcolm X and All About Love by bell hooks. The gentleman managing the stand shared with us how the bookstore came to be through the desire to create an environment emphasizing the promotion of Black authors. 

The theme of this year, "as we rise, we lift," reverberated strongly throughout the conference. In addition to lawyers offering valuable insights into their career journeys, there were many spontaneous conversations with fellow law students while navigating the career fair, strolling through the halls of the hotel, and sitting next to one another during panels. We shared funny stories about our law school experiences, our hopes and dreams for our careers and lives, and the unique challenges of being sometimes the only Black students in the room – ironically in a setting filled with Black lawyers. During the luncheon on day three of the conference, we heard an inspiring speech from our school's Dean, Ngai Pindell. The conference concluded at the Gala, with an unforgettable address from the Angela Davis which furthered the sense of empowerment and solidarity shared among attendees. 

As the Director of Communication for UBC BLSA, I'm grateful to have been a part of the team that provided this experience for 27 students at Allard. However, none of this would have been achievable without the dedicated efforts of our presidents, Gabby Lees and Tinahse Muzah, who worked tirelessly to secure sponsorships and organized brunch and dinners for all attendees, including a group dinner with the students from BLSA UVic. Although this was my second time attending the BLSA conference, the experience was truly exceptional, and I am absolutely looking forward to next year.

  • Allard School of Law
Farhia Mohamed

Farhia Mohamed

Allard Law student (2L)

Farhia Mohamed is a second-year law student at the Peter A. Allard School of Law at UBC and the Director of Communications for the UBC Black Law Students’ Association (BLSA).

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