BLSA to host 31st Annual Scholarship Banquet on Friday, Feb. 12

Photo of Willie Gary ?

The Wake Forest Black Law Students Association (BLSA) will host its 31st Annual Scholarship Banquet on Friday, Feb. 12, at the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts. The theme is “Fulfilling the Dream,” a response to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s call-to-action years ago and “what we are doing to fulfill his dream today, especially considering on-campus movements, student protests and presidential elections,” says Ashlee Johnson, BLSA member and event chair.

The event will begin with a cocktail reception at 6 p.m. followed by dinner, the keynote address and presentation of awards scheduled to last through 8:30.

The keynote address will be given by Attorney Willie E. Gary, partner at Gary, Williams, Parenti and Watson. According to the firm’s website, Gary earned his reputation as “The Giant Killer” by taking down some of America’s most well-known corporate giants on behalf of his clients. He has won some of the largest jury awards and settlements in U.S. history, including more than 150 cases valued in excess of $1 million each. Gary’s amazing success has earned him national recognition as a leading trial attorney.

Gary has been featured in Ebony magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential Black Americans” and Forbes magazine has listed him as one of the “Top 50 Attorneys in the U.S.” He has been highlighted in many of the nation’s most respected media publications, such as The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, Ebony, Jet, People, Black Enterprise, Fortune, The New Yorker and The National Law Journal. His remarkable legal career and tireless work on behalf of his clients have been documented on “60 Minutes,” the “CBS Evening News” and ABC’s “World News Tonight with Peter Jennings.” He also has appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and CBS’s “The Early Show” with Bryant Gumbel.

In addition to the keynote address, the evening will feature the awarding of BLSA scholarship and presenting of the BLSA Legacy Award. Tickets for the event are $65 per person and $30 for Wake Forest Law students, or $600 for a table of 10. Purchases must be made no later than Jan. 31. BLSA is also be accepting donations, and invites donors to include their name and organization so that they may be recognized during the event.

The National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA), was founded in 1968 by Algernon Johnson (”AJ”) Cooper, former mayor of Prichard, Alabama, at New York University Law School. NBLSA was formed to articulate and promote the needs and goals of black law students and effectuate change in the legal community. Today, NBLSA is the largest student-run organization in the United States with more than 6,000 members and 200 chapters. NBLSA chapters and affiliates can be found in six different countries including The Bahamas, Nigeria and South Africa. The BLSA Scholarship fund was established in 1984 with gracious donations from faculty, firms and alumni to assist law students with tuition. The BLSA Banquet was established in 1985 and remains a cornerstone of BLSA’s legacy in raising scholarship funds for students.

For more information or to purchase tickets, email Johnson at