July 9, 2010
Law and Leadership Starts Its Third Year
A statewide program that seeks to improve diversity in the legal profession welcomed more than 300 students this summer.
The Law and Leadership Institute identifies promising youth from urban neighborhoods and grooms them to be future leaders in the legal profession by offering them a chance to study law during the summer at an Ohio law school. Students entering the 9th, 10th and 11th grades began their studies on July 6 in six cities: Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Toledo.
“The whole idea behind this program is to enhance students’ critical thinking, writing and research skills, their analytic ability and to expose students to a professional work environment,” said Carl D. Smallwood, president of the Law and Leadership Institute, LLC. “Many of these students come from underserved communities and from families less aware of the steps necessary to prepare for college admission.”
He said the program is much more than simply “job shadowing,” in that ninth-grade summer students are in class for five weeks concluding with a mock trial; 10th-grade students sit for three weeks of classroom instruction and conclude with a one-week internship at a law firm or corporation; and 11th-grade students take ACT/SAT preparation courses to boost their college readiness, go on campus visits, and are paired with lawyer mentors on a research and writing assignment.
He noted that the program stays with the participating students as they move through high school and next year will grow again to include all four high school grades.
The institute began in 2008 in Cleveland and Columbus and expanded to the four additional cities last year. The original sites will house all three grades this summer and involve two law schools in each city while the four expansion cities will have two grades at each city’s law school.
Partners for the 2010 institute include the Supreme Court of Ohio, the Ohio Center for Law Related Education, the Ohio State Bar Association, Ohio’s metropolitan bar associations, city school districts, and Ohio’s nine law schools.