June 22, 2012

High school students to learn about legal careers

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- High school students will get a special introduction to the legal field through the Law and Leadership Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The “Inspiring Leaders-Changing Lives” legal immersion program will bring students from minority, ethnic and other groups traditionally underrepresented in legal professions to campus June 24-30.  The event, sponsored by the Just The Beginning Foundation (JTBF) and the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA), is for students who will be in ninth or 10th grades this fall.  The program will introduce them to various aspects of the law and the many legal careers open to them in hopes of sparking their interest in law professions and enhancing their academic achievements.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to cover portions of the ISBA/JTBF Law and Leadership Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale June 24-30.  For more information contact Alicia Ruiz at aruiz@siu.edu or 618/453-8700.

The program began in 2011 as a three-week long commuter program at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago.  Now a statewide initiative, it expanded this summer with the weeklong residential program on the SIU Carbondale campus.  Alice Noble-Allgire, professor at the SIU School of Law, worked with the ISBA and JEBF to bring the program to Southern Illinois.  She formerly chaired the ISBA’S Standing Committee on Minority and Women Participation and its Diversity Task Force.  She helped the organization design a statewide Diversity Pipeline program to assist more minority students in traveling the educational pipeline to the legal profession.

Those attending will interact with law professionals, participate in reading and writing exercises, and learn about oral advocacy, citizenship and the legal profession as they sharpen their leadership, study, social and problem-solving skills.  Through various team building and enrichment activities, they will also boost their self-confidence.

Activities will include classroom lectures, critical thinking exercises, guest speakers and field trips to area law firms, government offices and courthouses. Participants will also enjoy a slice of campus life and the college experience. 

The high school students will put their newfound knowledge to the test as they participate in a mock trial later in the week.  Students will portray witnesses, lawyers and jurors as they decide a dispute.  A moot court presentation will further challenge the program participants’ skills as they make oral arguments before a panel of judges.  The institute wraps up with an awards presentation June 30.

For more information about the ISBA/JTBF Law and Leadership Institute at SIU Carbondale, contact Alicia Ruiz at aruiz@siu.edu or by calling 618-/453-8700.