Meet 2L Student Jenna Smith of the Black Law Students Association

Jenna Smith is a second-year law student and vice president of finance for the Black Law Students Association at UC Law SF.

Affinity organizations at UC Law San Francisco unite students from different racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and religious backgrounds. One of these many groups is the Black Law Students Association (BLSA).

Second-year law student Jenna Smith is vice president of finance for BLSA. She explains why she joined and supports this organization.

Q: What is BLSA?

A: BLSA is an organization that supports Black law students on campus. It also welcomes allies. It provides peer mentoring programs and organizes multiple events throughout the school year, including attorney and judge panels, career development events, and speaking engagements with incoming 1L students.

BLSA’s mission is to support the personal, professional, and academic growth of Black law students. It also promotes unity, camaraderie, and inclusion among Black students. Additionally, it aims to influence society – particularly the legal community – by advancing the careers of Black professionals and bringing about meaningful systemic change in ways that meet the needs of the Black community.

Q: Why did you join BLSA?

Several peers encouraged me to join after recognizing that I was hard working and highly organized. My experience with budget analysis work from my prior job with the California Department of State Hospitals made me a perfect fit for the VP of finance role.

I also joined because I like giving back to the Black community. I believe it’s important to create a space for Black students to feel supported and heard on campus. I encourage faculty to consider the perspectives of Black law students when creating curriculum. I also mentor 1L students and offer them advice on outlining, test taking, and keeping healthy habits during finals season.

Q: How is this group advancing your career goals? 

My lifelong goal is to advocate for the causes I believe in, such as ensuring the Black community has a voice in education, policymaking and other areas. My role at BLSA allows me to advocate for these causes with the help of supportive peers.

Q: What inspired you to attend law school?

At a young age, I realized that people from disadvantaged communities received fewer resources and less support from the local government. This inspired me to push for change and attend law school so I could more effectively advocate for others. Upon graduation, I hope to use my law degree to help underprivileged communities, specifically the Black community, by fighting for their rights through the legal system.

Q: Share more about yourself.

I grew up in Fresno, California, and studied sociology with an emphasis on law and society at UC Davis. In undergrad, I did several internships, including with the California State Senate, and taught painting classes. I also served as chapter president of the Lambda Xi Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. I remain active as an alumna, helping to raise money for scholarships and mentoring current students and graduates for Delta Sigma Theta.

Q: Why do you like mentoring first-year law students?

A: I believe it’s important to pass knowledge to the next generation so they might have a better law school experience. By volunteering my time to support the success of Black 1L students, I am helping more Black students become lawyers and addressing the disparity of Black professionals in the legal field.

For more information on BLSA, email