“I’m a big believer in paying it forward,” said 3L Khasim Lockhart, a community-minded individual who, in all his professional activities, seeks to promote the success of black and diverse law students. In recognition of this dedication, Lockhart won the Chapter President of the Year award at the Northeast Black Law Students Association (NEBLSA) awards gala on Jan. 27. The gala celebrated the Northeast Region’s 31 law school chapters and the 50th anniversary of the National Black Law Students Association, an organization committed to increasing the number of culturally responsible black and minority attorneys who excel academically, succeed professionally, and positively impact the community.
“To be a leader means to make everyone feel they are leaders as well,” said Lockhart, who heads the Fordham Black Law Students Association (BLSA) and is associate editor of the Fordham Law Moot Court Program.
As president of BLSA, Lockhart strives to be the organization’s face by emulating prominent figures of the past and modeling an identity that befits the black law students of tomorrow. Lockhart stressed how, given the unique challenges and anxieties faced by students from diverse backgrounds, programs like BLSA are pivotal in helping such students cope and ultimately achieve their greatest potential.
Many of BLSA’s recent initiatives, which have included academic workshops and mentorship programs for 1L students, are tailored to empower the next generation of diverse Fordham lawyers. One such example is the Legal Empowerment and Academic Development (LEAD) program, which welcomed new and diverse students to panel discussions for three days last August. The students listened to helpful words from senior students and professors, who offered advice about smoothly transitioning into their legal education.
Lockhart also stressed the importance of mentoring diverse children and teenagers. He identified his own early role models: his mother, whom he commended for her underappreciated altruism, and his eighth grade teacher and current mentor, Dudley Irvin, whose guidance has been instrumental in challenging Lockhart to reach his potential. Seeking to inspire young people in a similar way, Lockhart and the other BLSA members often invite elementary and high school students to campus for daylong programs. This Friday, BLSA will welcome students from Lockhart’s former elementary school, P.S. 127. The students will partake in a tour, talk with law students, and listen to a panel discussion.
In the future, in addition to working for Olshan Frome Wolosky LLP, Lockhart aspires to start a mentorship program for young black and Latino students.
Above all, Lockhart expressed gratitude for his fellow BLSA members. “I’ve been blessed with an excellent board,” he said, describing his team members as go-getters who, in addition to the work they perform for BLSA, contribute to several law journals and have won various legal competitions. Together, they share a mission of empowering future diverse students to make a positive impact on the legal world and beyond.
“We represent black law students coming after us,” said Lockhart. “We all understand it’s bigger than us.”