April 10, 2019
Wolverine Bar Foundation Barristers' Ball 2019

On April 6, four Detroit Mercy Law students were awarded scholarships at the Wolverine Bar Foundation’s 58th annual Barristers’ Ball at the Detroit Marriott-Renaissance Center. Judge Damon J. Keith Scholarships were presented to Kristoffer Butler, Jailah Emerson, Keshava Kirkland and Cheryl Mitchell. 

The Wolverine Bar Association strives to increase diversity and inclusion in the legal community and support Michigan communities through outreach and education. The Judge Damon J. Keith Scholarship, which was established in 1995 to commemorate Judge Keith taking senior status on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, is awarded to law students who emulate Keith’s commitment to social equality and combating racism. 

“Kristoffer, Jailah, Keshava and Cheryl are outstanding leaders at our School and in the Detroit community,” said Detroit Mercy Law Dean Phyllis L. Crocker. “Their dedication to lifting up aspiring and fellow law students and increasing diversity in the profession inspires us all. They could not be more deserving of these scholarships in Judge Keith’s name.” 

Kristoffer Butler is the executive president of the Detroit Mercy Law Student Bar Association (SBA), founder of the Detroit Mercy Mental Health Alliance, member of the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) and host of the American Bar Association (ABA) Law Student Podcast on the Legal Talk Network. He graduates in May and aims to become a litigator, with an aspiration of becoming a judge. Butler earned his bachelor’s from Grand Valley State University. 

Jailah Emerson, a second-year student, serves as vice president of the Women’s Law Caucus, 2L class president, and a member of the Moot Court Board of Advocates and Law Review. She is also an extern for the Honorable Victoria Roberts of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Emerson was recently elected as vice president of BLSA and managing editor of the Law Review for the 2019-2020 academic year. Emerson earned her bachelor’s from Michigan State University 

Keshava Kirkland, a third-year student graduating in May, is the president of BLSA and an Associate Board Director for the Moot Court Board of Advocates. Through her involvement in BLSA, she has spearheaded a number of community outreach initiatives, including conducting a bottled water drive for Detroit Public Schools, partnering with local Black-owned businesses, and co-developing a Street Law program at Renaissance High School. She received the Dean’s Scholarship for Excellence and the Dean’s Social Justice Scholarship. Kirkland earned her bachelor’s from Michigan State University 

Cheryl Mitchell, a second-year student, is secretary of BLSA and a member of Law Review and the Moot Court Board of Advocates. She was recently elected president of BLSA for the 2019-2020 academic year. Mitchell co-founded a pipeline program that assists minorities and underprivileged individuals in gaining the resources to pursue law school. Prior to starting law school, she taught English in Spain, worked at an immigration law firm in metro Detroit and earned her bachelor's from Michigan State University.