The purpose of NBLSA is to utilize the collective resources of the member chapters to:
In 1968, Algernon Johnson ("AJ") Cooper, former mayor of Prichard, Alabama, founded the first Black American Law Students Association (BALSA) at the New York University Law School. In 1983, BALSA revised its name and the word "American" was deleted to encompass all blacks, including those not of American nationality. Later, the word "National" was added to reflect the organization's national expansion, which now includes representation in the law schools of forty-eight states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
Today, the National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA), is a national organization formed to articulate and promote the needs and goals of black law students and effectuate change in the legal community. As the largest student run organization in the United States with nearly 6,000 members, NBLSA is also comprised of chapters or affiliates in six different countries including The Bahamas, Nigeria, and South Africa. Organized into six regions (Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southern, Midwest, Rocky Mountain and Western Region), the organization has over 200 chapters and is present in all but a few of the nation's accredited law schools, as well as unaccredited law schools. With its headquarters located in Washington, DC, NBLSA encourages the development of talented, social conscious lawyers of tomorrow. Each year, the organization holds an annual convention to engage in legal activism and prepare new generations of black lawyers to "effectuate change." Additionally, the Frederick Douglass Moot Court , Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial and Nelson Mandela International Negotiations Competitions are held during its annual convention. Notably, NBLSA assisted in the formation of the Black Law Students Association of Canada (BLSAC), the National Latino/Latina Student Association (NLLSA), National Association of Law Students with Disabilities (NALSD), and the National Asian Pacific American Law Student Association (NAPALSA).