DLA Piper Sponsors 'Law Student for a Day' Event
On Friday, October 10, 2008 15 middle school students from Mark T. Skinner Middle School took part in "Law Student for a Day" at the University of Chicago Law School. The event was organized by Boys Speak Out, Inc. and the Black Law Students Association at the University of Chicago, and sponsored by DLA Piper's Chicago office. "The purpose of Law Student for a Day is to expose participants to the law school environment and make them aware of the plethora of options available to them if they work hard, dedicate themselves and surround themselves with positive people," explains Boys Speak Out, Inc. Founder and DLA Piper associate Anthony Webb. "Maybe the kids desire to attend law school or maybe they would like to work at a law school one day; either way, they are at least a little closer to being able to visualize their goals."
The participants had the opportunity to tour the law school (including stops by the library, the career services office and the courtroom), to hear a presentation from Professor Lior Strahilevitz, and to work in small groups with discussion leaders who represented different areas of the law school from students to staff. The day ended with a group lunch including BLSA representatives, professors, staff and the middle schoolers. The participants truly enjoyed the experience and learned that there is more to being a lawyer than is portrayed on "Law and Order." "This is by far the best field trip I have ever been on," proclaimed one participant, "I did not even realize that there are schools that teach you how to become a lawyer." Mrs. Pope, a teacher at Skinner Middle School and a chaperone for the Law Student for a Day program, believes that "programs such as Law Student for a Day teach the kids the importance of hard work and discipline by broadening their horizons and exposing them to an environment that they otherwise may not be able to see." Dana Davenport, an associate in DLA's Chicago office and a 2007 University of Chicago graduate, also represented DLA at the program. Dana was excited that "the participants were so engaged and receptive to the information presented to them by professors, students and staff at the University of Chicago" and believes "that the Law Student for a Day event will serve as an important motivational spring board for these youth and future participants."