Brooklyn Law Students for the Public Interest (BLSPI) is a student-run, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization at Brooklyn Law School that encourages and enables student participation in public interest legal work serving underrepresented communities and individuals. BLSPI accomplishes this work through the work of its various committees. BLSPI was originally created to manage the organization’s summer Fellowship program and to support Brooklyn Law School’s public interest community at large. Since that time, the organization has grown immensely, adding a variety of committees to serve the public interest community, all headed by our board of directors and executive board.
BLSPI Board of Directors
Cochairs: Daniella Haviv and Monica Rashed
Treasurer Cochairs: Elliot Tanha and Lydia Saltzbart
Secretary: Octavia Ewart
Chair: Crystal Liu
BLSPI invites alumni to our annual Auction, where we provide a great opportunity to network in a relaxed setting with former members who now work in various types of public interest and public service work. BLSPI also holds smaller alumni gatherings throughout the year, produces a semi-annual alumni newsletter, and relies on alumni support for a variety of events, such as scoring bar grant applications each spring. BLSPI’s alumni network generously donates various items to its annual auction and frequently mentors and assists BLSPI members as they begin their careers. BLSPI is grateful for the support and continued involvement of its alumni members.
Cochairs: Carlon Campbell, Emily Ingraham, Taylor McCandless
The BLSPI Auction is the largest on-campus event and BLSPI’s primary fundraising initiative. Preparation for the Auction starts as early as the first few weeks of school and volunteers do everything from canvassing for donations and promotion to setting up and staffing the event itself. Funding from the Auction is the main funding source for BLSPI Fellows. For more information about past years’ BLSPI Auctions, how to donate, and this year’s auction, click here.
Community Development Committee
Chair: Xixin Zhou
BLSPI’s Community Development Committee is responsible for instituting public service “days of action,” overseeing annual donation drives, and coordinating public service events with other BLS student organizations. Their programming and outreach includes, but is not limited to: spring and fall blood drives; a Halloween fundraiser for domestic violence shelters; canned immunity drives for a local food pantry; an orientation week service project and a volunteer opportunity on MLK Day of Service; and organizing speakers and panels around a topic concerning race and the law. To learn more about the work of BLSPI’s Community Development Committee, click here.
Cochairs: Annabel Stanley and Cohl Love
Every year, approximately fifteen to twenty Brooklyn Law School first- and second-year students pursuing unpaid public interest internships are selected to be BLSPI Fellows, receiving a $5,000 stipend for unpaid summer public interest work. New Fellows are interviewed and selected by current BLSPI Fellows and Executive Board members early in the spring semester. Not only do Fellows commit to meaningful work during their Fellowship summer, but they also develop a network within their Fellowship community, supporting BLSPI and its initiatives throughout the school year and serving as leaders in the larger public interest community at the law school. BLSPI’s Auction proceeds, as well as the school, fund the Fellowship. For information on how to support the Fellowship, application requirements, and the application process, click here.
Cochairs: Shari Bieber, Sydney Wolchok, Rachel Marc
BLSPI's Mentorship program, one of the largest on campus, pairs first year law students with upper class students who share similar interests. Mentors are encouraged to help mentees navigate the public interest legal community by assisting with job applications, advising about
classes, and working together on pro bono projects. Events include a mentorship mixer, resume workshop, career fair interview practice, and an informational session about registering for classes and clinics. To learn more about BLSPI’s mentorship program, click here.
Pro Bono Committee
Cochairs: Jack Herrick and Erica Baker
The Pro Bono Committee works to build awareness and participation in Brooklyn Law School's pro bono organizations. Toward the end of the fall semester, the Pro Bono Committee organizes BLSPI's Pro Bono Mixer, in which the school's pro bono organizations come together to celebrate their hard work and donate goods to a partner charitable organization.
Chair: Erin Henegan
BLSPI’s website and social media presence is up lead by the Publicity Committee. The Publicity committee is responsible for keeping our information up-to-date on our website, create event pages on our Facebook, and document our events via photos on our accounts. BLSPI, through the Publicity Committee, hopes to provide as much information to their members and community.
1L Delegates and Volunteer Opportunities
BLSPI offers many opportunities for 1Ls to gain leadership experience, starting in their first semester. Many of our committees have one or more 1L representative positions. These positions and the application process are open to all first year full- and part-time students. Feel free to contact any of our committees for more details.
There are many opportunities to volunteer throughout the year and to get involved in the public interest community at BLS. Sign-up for our listserv to receive updates on these various opportunities.