Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Texas Tech School of Law has had a partnership for seven years now with the Law and Justice Magnet Program at one of the local high schools that has predominately minority student enrollment. Recently I had lunch with the LJMP instructor. We are both passionate about the partnership and were discussing plans for next semester.
We started the partnership for several reasons. First, it allows us to support the high school's efforts in increasing student awareness of legal issues and potential careers in law. Second, it provides us with an avenue to encourage students to stay in school, continue on to college, and enter professional education after college. Third, it provides opportunities and role models for students who have dreams to reach beyond their backgrounds and become success stories for their families.
Some of the aspects of the program are:
- Upper-division law students who are selected as Dean's Community Teaching Fellows to assist at the high school in the LJMP courses. These DCTFs mentor individual students, participate in the classroom experiences, and help coach the mock trial team for the Texas high school competition.
- Mini-classes for senior students in which we discuss fact patterns and cases as well as legal research. The Legal Practice professors provided us with 1L legal memorandum packets that we modified for high school use. The law librarians assist with the legal research component.
- VIP attendance at a variety of law school events. For example, the students have attended lectures with Sandra Day O'Connor, Antonin Scalia, and Stephen Breyer. They have attended hearings in front of the Texas Seventh Court of Appeals. In several cases, the students have had the honor of being photographed with our guests.
- Donated items for the LJMP library of study aids that cover civil and criminal topics in their courses.
Will all of the students end up at Texas Tech School of Law? Will all of them become lawyers some day? No. But that is okay.
We definitely want to see the diversity of the legal profession increase and some of these students will become lawyers. They may not attend Tech Law, but the legal profession will benefit.
However, if all of these high school students become successful citizens and reach their dreams, we will also have succeeded. Whether they become police officers, forensic scientists, lawyers, doctors, small business owners, nurses, teachers, or meet other career goals, they will have followed their dreams.
Most importantly, they will have known that we believed in them and their futures. They will have had our encouragement and support. (Amy Jarmon)