Bylaws

BLSA Bylaws

 

ARTICLE I Elections, Officers, Amendments

Section I

Election Procedures:

  1. Elections shall be held in March
    1. The President shall preside over elections, with the assistance of the Parliamentarian.
    2. The Parliamentarian will collect a list of members who are interested in running for an elected position two weeks prior to elections.
    3. Qualifying members:
      1. Only dues-paying members may run for a position on the Executive Board.
      2. Only a member who has previously served on the Executive Board or any of the BLSA Committees may run for President; however, this restriction will be waived in the event that only one or fewer individuals running for President meet the requirement.
    4. The Parliamentarian will prepare ballots for the election.
    5. The President will make sure that each candidate will be given the same amount of allotted time to present his or her platform.
    6. All candidates may be subject to a question and answer period with current members prior to the election. If there is a question and answer period, each candidate shall be given the same amount of time to answer questions.
    7. In the event that an officer position is left vacant because no one sought election, the elected Executive Board for the upcoming year will collectively vote and appoint an individual to the vacant position.
  2. Voting
    1. Only dues-paying members may vote.
    2. Dues-paying members may vote electronically by the end of the chosen election day.
    3. Voting shall be conducted through the Wake Forest University IT department. If this procedure is not possible, the advisor of the Wake Forest University School of Law Black Law Students Association must create and distribute voting link to BLSA dues-paying members and monitor the vote count.
    4. The Treasurer shall ensure that only the votes of dues-paying members are counted.
    5. Each officer shall pass down any BLSA materials to the newly elected officers at the end of his or her term.

Section II

Elected Officers:

  1. President
    1. Shall be responsible for the overall function of BLSA.
    2. Shall preside over all general body meetings.
    3. Shall prepare an agenda for each general body meeting.
    4. Shall work with the Treasurer and Faculty Advisor(s) to ensure that the budget is being maintained properly.
    5. Shall obtain and disseminate the NBLSA Competition materials to each team participant.
    6. Shall work with the Secretary to host 1L academic events and workshops.
  2. Vice President
    1. Shall work with the President to maintain the overall function of BLSA.
    2. Shall conduct the general body meetings when the President is unavailable.
    3. Shall chair the Annual Scholarship Banquet Committee.
  3. Secretary
    1. Shall record the minutes of the previous meeting and disseminate the agenda to the general body.
    2. Shall be responsible for working with the President to host 1L academic events and workshops.
    3. Shall communicate internally and externally with the Southern Region, National and other organizations to keep the general body updated on NBLSA events.
  4. Treasurer
    1. Shall maintain a budget and a written record of all monies spent on BLSA’s behalf.
    2. Shall conduct a dues drive and maintain a list of dues-paying members.
    3. Shall present a written budget report at each Executive Board meeting.
  5. Parliamentarian
    1. Shall ensure the Bylaws are being upheld
      1. Shall create and revise Bylaws in accordance with NBLSA and SRBLSA, with the vote of dues-paying members.
      2. Shall advise presiding officers, committees and members on proper parliamentary procedures.
    2. Shall assist the President with elections.
    3. Shall chair the Social Committee.
  6. Social Justice Chair
    1. Shall regularly present social justice opportunities to the Executive Board and the General Body.
    2. Shall be responsible for planning, coordinating and advertising social justice events and initiatives.
    3. Shall chair the Social Justice Committee.
  7. Community Service and Pro Bono Project Chair
    1. Shall regularly present community service and pro bono opportunities to the Executive Board and the General Body.
    2. Shall chair the Community Service Committee.
  8. Career & Professional Development Chair
    1. Shall be responsible for informing BLSA dues-paying members about various employment opportunities.
    2. Shall be responsible for hosting various informational sessions or events for dues-paying members and/or the Wake Forest University School of Law community as a whole.
  9. Webmaster
    1. Shall maintain all social media outlets and update on a continuous basis.
    2. Shall take and post pictures at BLSA events so as to make the organization more relevant and visible.
    3. Shall send out a weekly BLSA email, updating the organization about the goings-on of BLSA and future events.
    4. Shall create the Scholarship Banquet slideshow.

Appointed Officer(s)

  1. New Student Representative(s)
    1. Shall serve as representatives for the new/incoming class.
    2. Candidates shall be interviewed by the Executive Board and selected no later than September of each year.
    3. The criteria for who may serve as a New Student Representative and the number of New Student Representatives shall be left to the discretion of the Executive Board.

Section III

Termination of Board Members:

  1. In order to impeach a board member, a written statement must be submitted to the BLSA Faculty Advisors to show cause for termination.
    1. The issue will be raised at the next general body meeting and put to a vote.
    2. With a majority of the vote from BLSA dues-paying members, the board member will have to step down from his or her position.
    3. This vote may be taken by online ballot.
  2. To fill any vacant positions, elections shall be conducted in the same manner as Section I of these Bylaws.
  3. In the event that a board member resigns, the vacant position may be filled depending upon the position:
    1. If the President resigns, the Vice President must assume the role of the President and the Executive Board must vote to appoint an Executive Board member to take over the Vice-President’s duties regarding the banquet.
    2. The remainder of the positions shall be filled according to the following hierarchy: Secretary, Treasurer, Parliamentarian, Social Justice Chair, Community Service Chair, Career & Professional Development Chair, Webmaster, and New Student Rep(s).
    3. Should the successor in the chain of hierarchy not be able to fulfill the duties of his or her new position, the Executive Board will communicate the availability of a vacant position on the board to the general body and will vote on those who show interest. The member receiving a majority of the Executive Board votes will be appointed into the vacant position.

Section IV

Amending Bylaws:

  1. In order to amend Bylaws:
    1. Only dues-paying members may vote.
    2. Bylaws may only be amended with a supermajority vote as further explained in Article I, Section V – Parliamentary Procedure.
    3. The Parliamentarian will revise the Bylaws and dues-paying members will vote on the amendment.
  2. Grammatical errors may be corrected at any time by the Parliamentarian, without the approval of the General Body, as long as:
    1. The correction does not alter the substance or meaning of the Bylaws; and,
    2. The General Body is notified of such changes.

Section V

Parliamentary Procedure

  1. Each BLSA general body meeting shall require a presiding officer, quorum, and a secretary.
  2. The hierarchy of those who may serve as the presiding officer is as follows: President, Vice President, Parliamentarian.
  3. Quorum:
    1. Quorum for any BLSA meeting shall be established when one-third (1/3) of dues-paying BLSA members are in attendance; this number shall be established without counting the Executive Board.
    2. This count shall be taken by roll call conducted by the Secretary, with the assistance of the Parliamentarian, at the beginning of each meeting.
    3. In the event that quorum is not met, the meeting shall be adjourned and a makeup time for the next meeting shall be announced; this makeup meeting shall only require one-half (1/2) of the official quorum in order to conduct the meeting, or one-sixth (1/6) of dues-paying BLSA members.
    4. Supermajority:
      1. This provision shall apply to proposed changes to governing documents, scholarship rules, or other core policies of the organization.
      2. In any of the aforementioned events, such a change shall require a supermajority of members in order to ratify the proposed change.
      3. A supermajority shall be defined as at least three-fourths (3/4) of dues-paying members in agreement for a particular decision; this supermajority may be established by three-fourths of dues-paying members voting to ratify a change either at a meeting or through an online ballot.
      4. Other parliamentary procedure not explicitly stated within these Bylaws shall be supplemented by the procedure in the most recent edition of Robert’s Rules of Order, in accordance with the Bylaws and Constitution of both the Southern Regional Black Law Students Association (“SRBLSA”) and the National Black Law Students Association (“NBLSA”).

 

ARTICLE II Committees

Section I

Committees:

  1. BLSA will have the following committees:
    1. Annual Scholarship Banquet Committee
      1. Raises funds to distribute annual scholarships to deserving dues-paying BLSA members.
      2. Will be chaired by the Vice President.
    2. Community Service Committee
      1. Puts together community service events to better the Wake Forest and surrounding communities.
      2. Community service events shall be centered on NBLSA’s platform.
      3. Will be chaired by the Community Service Chair.
    3. NBLSA Competitions
      1. Involves the preparation of participants in the NBLSA competitions.
      2. Will be chaired by a student advisor or faculty advisor for each competition.
    4. Social Events Committee
      1. Plans events to help members bond and to have fun throughout law school.
      2. Will be chaired by the Parliamentarian.
    5. Webmaster Committee
      1. Will assist the Webmaster with publicizing the organization and its events and maintaining social media accounts.
      2. Will be chaired by the Webmaster.
    6. Social Justice Committee
      1. Will assist the Social Justice Chair with organizing social justice events.
      2. Will be chaired by the Social Justice Chair.
  2. All committee members will be appointed by the Executive Board during the first general body meeting.
  3. Committee members may meet at their discretion.
  4. Additional committees may be added at the discretion of the Executive Board.

 

ARTICLE III Meetings

Executive Board Meetings:

A. The Executive Board may meet at its discretion, prior to General Body meetings.

General Body Meetings:

B. There shall be no less than one General Body meeting per month.

 

ARTICLE IV Financial Affairs

Section I

Financing:

  1. The annual budget shall be set by the Dean of Wake Forest University School of Law.
  2. The President and the Treasurer, on behalf of the organization, will petition the Dean to fund BLSA activities in advance.
  3. At the end of the school year, the Executive Board will meet to assess BLSA’s budget for the year in order to estimate next year’s budget for the incoming Executive Board.

Section II

Financial Activities:

  1. Membership dues shall be due by the first of October.
  2. The Treasurer will maintain a list of all dues-paying members
  3. The Treasurer will provide a list of dues-paying members to the Executive Board

Section III

Budget Process and Authority:

  1. Any amount of money spent from the budget on behalf of BLSA shall be approved with written and expressed authority by the Treasurer, President or Vice President and Faculty Advisor before any funds are to be distributed.
  2. Only the Treasurer, President and Vice President will have access to BLSA’s account.

 

ARTICLE V Competitions

Section I

Teams:

  1. General
    1. Teams to represent Wake Forest BLSA at the NBLSA competitions will be determined through an internal writing competition. Internal competitions are outlined under the respective regional and national competitions.
      1. If there is no general interest, those who are interested to be on the team will automatically make the team.
    2. Each team will need two 1L alternates.
      1. 1L alternates will be given preference to participate in competitions in the next academic year.
  2. Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition:
    1. Each team will write a brief based on the problem
    2. The Executive Board, along with BLSA Faculty Advisors, shall review each team’s brief.
    3. The team who writes the best brief will be chosen to represent Wake Forest BLSA in regional and national competitions.
  3. Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition:
    1. Each team will write an opening and closing based on a problem selected by a BLSA advisor or a member of the Executive Board who is not seeking to compete.
    2. The Executive Board, along with BLSA advisors, shall hear each competitor’s opening and closing.
    3. The four individuals with the highest scores based on style, persuasiveness, legal arguments and other factors, will be chosen to represent Wake Forest BLSA in the regional and national competitions.
  4. International Negotiations Competition:
    1. Teams will be based on the interest of members and funding opportunities.
    2.  

ARTICLE VI Scholarship Requirements

Section I

Eligible Applicants

  1. Only dues-paying members may apply for the BLSA Scholarship.

Section II

Pro Bono and Community Service Requirements:

  1. There shall be different pro bono and community service event requirements for first-, second- and third-year law students.
  2. There shall be a base requirement for the number of pro bono and/or community service BLSA events that interested applicants must attend. Any additional BLSA pro bono events and/or community service events attended by interested applicants will be given extra consideration.

Other BLSA Events:

  1. Any other BLSA events aside from the aforementioned pro bono and/or community service events that each member supports and attends will be taken into consideration on the scholarship application; however, there will be no requirement for attendance for non-pro bono and community service events.

Section III

Required Number of Events

  1. The required number of events includes the combined total amount of pro bono and community service events attended by each applicant.
  2. First-year law students are required to attend 2 total community service and pro bono events to be able to apply for the scholarship.
  3. Second-year law students are required to attend 3 total community service and pro bono events to be able to apply for the scholarship.
  4. Third-year law students are required to attend 3 total community service and pro bono events to be able to apply for the scholarship.

Section IV

What qualifies as a BLSA event:

  1. This will be an objective determination made by the Executive Board.
  2. If a student leaves an event early, the Executive Board will decide if the student’s attendance at the event counts as an entire event for scholarship application purposes.

Section V

Changes to any of these requirements shall require a supermajority vote as outlined in Article I, Section V. Changes must be made no later than the second general body meeting of each year in order to provide members with the opportunity to meet the scholarship requirements.

 

ARTICLE VII Regional/National Governing Documents

The governing documents of the Wake Forest Black Law Students Association shall be controlled by those of both SRBLSA and NBLSA and any inconsistency shall be read in favor of the SRBLSA and NBLSA governing documents.