BLSA recognizes champions of diversity

February 15, 2018

The Black Law Student Association will honor four people this month whose careers have been dedicated to diversifying the legal profession through education and outreach.

The BLSA Alumni Awards will take place Feb. 22 at Seattle University School of Law at 5:30 p.m.

Karen Murray '91 will receive the BLSA Alumni Award, Professors Connie Krontz '89 and Jeff Minneti will receive the BLSA Amicus Award, and Stephan Thomas '11 will receive the Vanguard Leader of the Year Award.

Karen MurrayKaren Murray '91 currently leads the problem-solving court unit at King County's Department of Public Defense. Throughout her career, she's been a powerful advocate for indigent defendants. She's also a respected leader in the legal community, organizing the King County Bar Association's Martin Luther King Jr. Day lunch every year and regularly mentoring law students of color.

She previously served as president of the Loren Miller Bar Association, as a member of the Race and Criminal Justice System Task Force, and as a member of the Washington Minority and Justice Commission.

Connie KrontzConnie Krontz '89, associate professor of lawyering skills, has taught legal writing within the law school's Access Admission Program for many years. The program aims to increase diversity in the legal profession by admitting non-traditional students.

Professor Krontz teaches legal research, objective and persuasive writing, and oral advocacy. She serves as the faculty advisor for Moot Court, and she has coached moot court teams. 

Jeff MinnetiJeff Minneti directs the Academic Resource Center, which supports students admitted through the Access Admission Program and any other law student who needs academic help. He previously taught at Stetson University College of Law in St. Petersburg, Florida, where he directed the school's academic success program. 

His scholarship focuses on the study of how students' preferences, choices, and behaviors affect their academic performance, as well as the intersection of behavioral economics and government regulation.

Stephan ThomasStephan Thomas '11 is director of community justice initiatives at the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, where he serves as a senior policy advisor to prosecutor Dan Satterburg. His focus areas are restorative justice, community partnerships, and criminal justice reform. 

He also volunteers for the King County 180 Program, which allows him to help troubled youth turn their lives around.

This year's BLSA Alumni Awards reception will feature first annual Justice Charles Z. Smith Awards in conjunction with the Washington State Minority and Justice Commission. Justice Smith (1927 - 2016) was the first person of color to serve on the Washington Supreme Court.