Legal Community

Legal Community v1

HOW THE LEGAL COMMUNITY CAN GET INVOLVED

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Our interactive civic education programs teach young students why they should participate in their community, how they can work for justice, and what it means to practice good citizenship. Many students who participate in our programs are inspired to pursue legal careers.

Members of the legal community are among Discovering Justice’s most valued partners. Whether you are a judge, a partner in a law firm, a lawyer in a government agency, a lawyer engaged in non-traditional work, a non-practicing lawyer, a first-year associate, or are just entering law school, you can be involved in Discovering Justice’s work to educate our youth about the justice system. Our programs include Children Discovering Justice, Discovering the Bill of Rights, and Stand Up for Your Rights. To learn more click below.

Children

Discovering Justice

GRADES ONE – SIX

To download complete details on this program click here.
For more information about
Children Discovering Justice field trips
contact Danielle White at 617.748.9639
or dwhite@discoveringjustice.org.

Children Discovering Justice (CDJ) empowers young children to stand up for their beliefs, resolve differences in constructive ways, and develop creative solutions to problems. This literacy-based social studies curriculum for grades one through five provides students with the tools they need to understand sophisticated ideas such as democracy, tolerance, rights, responsibilities, and the connection between rules and the law. CDJ is taught in schools and includes Courthouse field trips for grades one, two, and five which build on classroom lessons and introduces students to the judicial system.

When and how long are CDJ field trips?
Field trips are typically held Tuesday through Friday mornings from November to June. Each field trip is 60-75 minutes.

Where will CDJ field trips take place?
Field trips take place in courtrooms in the Moakley U.S. Courthouse.

How is the CDJ field trip structured?
Upon entering the courtroom, the students are given an in-depth introduction to the parts of the courtroom. With guidance from a Discovering Justice staff member and (an) attorney volunteer(s), the students read and discuss a hypothetical court case and then, in small groups, craft opening statements and closing arguments, as well as witness questions. The small group work culminates with a mock trial, jury deliberation, and a verdict from the students. We always leave time at the end for questions and conversation with the attorney volunteer(s).

Is there training for the volunteer attorneys?
Volunteer attorneys are provided preparatory materials prior to the field trip with detailed instructions about the field trip. Volunteers are welcome to contact Discovering Justice with any questions.

Discovering The

Bill of Rights

GRADES SIX – EIGHT

To download complete details on this program click here.
For more information about
Discovering the Bill of Rights field trips
contact Ann Gogol at 617.748.9642
or agogol@discoveringjustice.org.

Discovering the Bill of Rights (DBR) draws middle school students into the midst of the judicial process. IN a real courtroom, students learn about the Bill of Rights and the U.S. Supreme Court cases. They then develop and present an appellate argument based on a landmark Supreme Court case before a lawyer presiding as a judge.

When and how long are DBR field trips?
Field trips are typically held Tuesday through Friday mornings from November to June. Each field trip is 90 minutes.

Where are DBR field trips held?
Field trips take place in courtrooms in the Moakley U.S. Courthouse.

Is there training for the volunteer attorneys?
Volunteer attorneys receive, via email, the text of the

Amendment with case and preparatory materials prior to the field trip. Volunteers are welcome to contact Discovering Justice staff with any questions.

How is the DBR field trip structured?
Upon entering the courtroom, students are divided into two teams, each representing one of the parties in the selected case. Students then receive workbooks containing the text of the relevant Amendment to the case (either the First or Fourth Amendment), the facts of the case, and the guiding questions to help teams develop their arguments. A Discovering Justice staff member provides support with a volunteer attorney throughout the field trip and the volunteer attorney then presides over the arguments and asks questions to help clarify students’ thinking. We always leave time at the end for questions and conversation with the attorney volunteer.

Stand Up

for Your Rights

GRADES SIX – EIGHT

To download complete details on this program click here.
For more information about Stand Up for Your Rights
contact Ann Gogol at 617.748.9642
or agogol@discoveringjustice.org.

Stand Up for Your Rights transforms middle school students into appellate lawyers. Woking with a team of attorney volunteers for ten weeks, students delve into the Bill of Rights, explore how constitutional protections apply in public school, and come to understand the complexities of balancing the rights of individuals with the safety and welfare needs of communities. The program concludes with students arguing before an Appellate Panel (one judge and two senior attorneys) and an Appellate Council comprised of community members in a real courtroom.

When, where, and how long do classes meet?
During the fall and spring semesters, students and attorneys meet once a week for 60-to-90 minute sessions after school at the participating school, afterschool site, or law firm. There are ten classroom sessions followed by a culminating event during which students present oral arguments at the Moakley U.S. Courthouse. The sessions are scheduled at times that are convenient for the schools, students, and attorney volunteers.

Who teaches the classes?
A group of attorneys teaches each team of students.

Typically, the legal group is made up of three to four attorneys, one of whom serves as the lead teacher and primary contact. We recognize that scheduling conflicts arise on occasion and not all volunteer attorneys must be present every week.

Is there training for the volunteer attorneys?
Prior to the start of the semester, volunteer attorneys attend a training (typically two hours) at the Moakley U.S. Courthouse, where they receive the curriculum, case materials, teaching tips and strategies, and all necessary class materials, i.e. student handouts and props.

What are the details of the culminating event?
The culminating event will be held at the Moakley U.S. Courthouse at the end of each semester. The students and attorneys arrive an hour before the oral arguments to practice. Each team argues in a real courtroom before an Appellate Panel (one member of the judiciary and two senior lawyers) and an Appellate Council comprised of community members who provide feedback to students. Following the arguments, everyone is invited to enjoy a pizza reception.

Mock Trial

Program

GRADES SIX – EIGHT

 

For more information about the Mock Trial Program
contact Ann Gogol at 617.748.9642
or agogol@discoveringjustice.org.

The Mock Trial Program turns students into trial lawyers and introduces them to our system of justice. Middle school students, with the support of attorney volunteers over an 11-week period, prepare and try cases before real judges and juries in actual courtrooms.

When, where, and how long do classes meet? 

During the fall semester, students and attorneys meet once a week for 60-to-90-minute sessions after school at the participating school, afterschool site, or law firm. There are ten classroom sessions followed by a culminating event during which students present oral arguments at a courthouse in their community. The sessions are scheduled at times that are convenient for the schools, students, and attorney volunteers.

Who teaches the classes? 

A group of attorneys teaches each team of students. Typically, the legal group is made up of three to four attorneys, one of whom serves as the lead

teacher and primary contact. We recognize that scheduling conflicts arise on occasion and not all volunteer attorneys must be present every week.

Is there training for the volunteer attorneys?

Prior to the start of the semester, volunteer attorneys attend a training (typically two hours), where they receive the curriculum, case materials, teaching tips and strategies, and all necessary class materials, i.e. student handouts and props.

What are the details of the culminating event?

The culminating event will be held at a courthouse in the students’ community at the end of the semester. The students and attorneys arrive an hour before the oral arguments to practice. Each team argues in a real courtroom before a member of the judiciary and a jury comprised of community members who provide feedback to students. Following the arguments, everyone is invited to enjoy a pizza reception.

Interested in volunteering with one of our programs?  Fill out the form online to get started.

For more information about
Children Discovering Justice Field Trips
contact Danielle White at 617.748.9639
or dwhite@discoveringjustice.org.

For more information about
Discovering the Bill of Rights and
Stand Up for Your Rights
contact Ann Gogol at
617.748.9642 or agogol@discoveringjustice.org.

LAW FIRM VOLUNTEERS

The following firms and agencies have participated as mentors in the Mock Trial Program and Stand Up for Your Rights:

Bank Boston Law Department

Berman & Dowell

Bingham McCutchen

Boston University School of Law

Bowditch & Dewey

Bristol County District Attorney’s Office

Brown Rudnick Berlack Israels

Burns & Levinson

Campbell Campbell Edwards & Conroy

Choate Hall & Stewart

City of Boston Law Department

Committee for Public Counsel Services, Lowell Office

Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch and Ford

Day, Berry & Howard

Dwyer & Collora

Fidelity Investments

Fish & Richardson

Foley HoagFoley & Lardner

Fletcher Tilton

Goodwin Procter

Goulston & Storrs

Greenberg Traurig

Hanify & King

Holland & Knight

The Honorable Kevin Herlihy (ret.)

Hill & Barlow

Jones Day

Kirkpatrick & Lockhart

Liberty Mutual Group

Manzi & McCann Baddour & Nierman

Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office

McDermott, Will & Emery

Melick, Porter & Shea

Law Office of Jeannine Mercure

Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky & Popeo

New England School of LawNixon Peabody

Nutter, McClennen & Fish

Palmer & Dodge

Peabody & Arnold

Robinson & Cole

Ryan, Coughlin & Betke

Ropes & Gray

Seyfarth Shaw

Sherin and Lodgen

Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office

Sullivan & Worcester

Testa, Hurwitz & Thibeault

Todd & Weld LLP

U.S. Attorney’s Office

Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr

Wolf Greenfield

Worcester County District Attorney’s Office

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