Texas Law 2L Anthony Collier, currently serving the school community as the Student Bar Association President and a member of three student organizations, has been elected to serve as Chair of the National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA), the largest student-run nonprofit in the nation. His term will begin on April 1.
Collier has spent the past year as the 2020-21 Chair of NBLSA’s Southwest region, a role which has prepared him to lead the national organization.
The Public Interest Scholar will spend this coming summer serving as a law clerk on Capitol Hill for U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a senior member of the House Committees on the Judiciary and Homeland Security. Lee represents Collier’s home district, the historic 18th Congressional District in Houston once led by Barbara Jordan.
Texas Law’s Christopher Roberts spoke to Collier about the election and his plans for the role, as well as this most unusual school year.
Christopher Roberts: First things first: Congratulations! This is a wonderful accomplishment. When does your term officially begin?
Anthony Collier: Thank you. I’m excited to get started. My term begins on April 1st.
CR: For our readers who may not know, tell us a little about NBLSA, its history and mission.
AC: NBLSA is the National Black Law Students Association. Founded in 1968 and with over 6000 members, NBLSA is the largest student-run nonprofit in the nation. The mission of NBLSA is to increase the number of culturally responsible Black and minority attorneys who excel academically, succeed professionally, and positively impact the community.
CR: As Chair, what will your priorities be?
AC: Providing benefits to our members. I plan to increase the number of Black law students by equipping our pre-law students with comprehensive law-school prep courses. I intend to have NBLSA members join the executive boards of their respective state bar associations. And I plan to give thousands of dollars in scholarships. NBLSA members are paying for a service, and I vow to provide them with a return on their investment.
CR: You fill a number of important leadership roles at Texas Law, including SBA President. How has service shaped your experience here?
AC: My leadership experience at Texas Law has helped prepare me for my role as the spokesman for Black law students nation-wide. Serving my fellow Texas law students has made me a better leader and a better person. I’m thankful to Texas Law for putting me in a position to succeed.
CR: Some of our readers already know this, but you’re a G. Rollie White Public Service Scholar, and you spend a lot of time working within the William Wayne Justice Center. What does it mean to you to hold that scholarship and to do the work you’re doing within the Center?
AC: I am grateful for my scholarship because it removes the pressure of doing corporate law to pay off student loan debt. Law school can be expensive, and many students desire a career in public service but settle for big law to pay off loans.
My work with the Justice Center keeps me grounded and reminds me of why I came to law school: to be equipped with tools to improve the lives of others and to help make America as good as her promise.
CR: You’ve been able to be remarkably productive and focused even through the pandemic and a tremendous amount of social and political upheaval in Texas and the nation over that past year. How has it been working in the face of those kinds of challenges?
AC: Dr. King once said that “only when it is dark enough can you see the stars.” Pressure can burst pipes, but it can also forge diamonds. I have a knack for recognizing and capitalizing on the opportunities that are always present amid adversity.
CR: Thanks for taking time from your busy schedule to talk with us, and good luck with everything!
AC: You’re welcome, and thank you.