Graduate Profile: Olivia Black, L’22

Student leader reflects on 6th Semester Program, hands-on experiences at KU Law

For her final semester of law school, Olivia Black joined nine classmates in Washington, D.C. for the 6th Semester in D.C. Program. Developing friendships with her cohort and connecting with KU Law alumni in the D.C. area has created some of Black’s favorite law school memories, she said.

“The 6th Semester in D.C. program is an amazing program. I worked at the National Association of Attorneys General, and worked on forthcoming important issues. I gained knowledge about cryptocurrency and sports betting legalization during my internship and hope to carry it into my legal practice,” Black said. “More students should take advantage of the program.”

Photo courtesy of Olivia Black.

Black’s 6th Semester experience caps off a law school career that has included time representing KU Law in national business law competitions, leading student organizations and mentoring peers. Black will graduate in May with her J.D. and Certificate in Business and Commercial Law.

Originally from Wichita, Black earned her undergraduate degree in health science from Wichita State University. She chose KU Law because it was close to home and had smaller class sizes – and KU basketball.

At Green Hall, Black was a student leader involved in the Black Law Students Association, OUTLaws & Allies and the Dean’s Fellows. She was a co-head Dean’s Fellow this year, providing mentorship, academic support and guidance to first-year students.

Black competed in two national transactional law competitions through the Polsinelli Transactional Law Center, including The Closer, an invitation-only competition hosted by Baylor Law. As a second-year student, Black and two teammates participated in the UCLA School of Law Transactional Law Competition, winning a first-place award for Best Draft and second-place awards for Best Negotiation and Best Overall. Adjunct instructor and Polsinelli shareholder Bill Quick coached both competitions, along with professors Lua Yuille and Kelley Sears.

“I sat under Bill’s guidance for two years, and during that time, he taught me invaluable negotiating and transactional legal skills. Thanks, Bill!” Black said.

Hands-on experiences including the Medical-Legal Partnership Field Placement and the Judicial Field Placement “prepared me for the workforce,” Black said. She interned with Judge Rhonda Mason of the Johnson County District Court, learning several writing strategies which “contributed to my legal analysis and writing,” she said.

“I participated in the Medical-Legal Partnership with Miss Juliann Morland DaVee. We worked closely with clients at Lawrence Memorial Hospital to address legal issues caused by societal shortcomings. She even assigned me several clients’ cases as if I were a young associate,” Black said.

After graduation, Black will join the law firm Hite, Fanning & Honeyman in her hometown.

“I am excited to return to Wichita and make a positive impact using my legal skills in the Wichita community,” Black said. “Before COVID-19, I had no plans to return to Wichita; now, I am excited to return to my beloved city and build my legal practice.”

— By Margaret Hair

This post is the first in a series highlighting a few of the exceptional members of KU Law’s Class of 2022. Stay tuned for more profiles as we celebrate this year’s graduating class.