A strong law-related classroom curriculum can give students from diverse backgrounds a good feel for the field of law. In order to enhance their classroom experience, there are several programs that Los Angeles-area teachers can utilize to take students’ understanding of the legal profession to the next level. These classroom programs and field trips to courtrooms, law firms, law libraries and law schools offer students the opportunity to see firsthand what the law looks like where it is being taught, practiced and administered.
The following is a list of established Los Angeles-area programs that can serve to supplement students’ knowledge about the legal field.
Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF) creates case materials and administers the mock trial program for the state of California. Mock trial promotes a working knowledge of our justice system among youth by having students role play the various facets of a legal case in courthouses throughout the County. For more information, visit the County CompetitionMock Trial Program on Constitutional Rights Foundation's website.
Courtroom to Classroom
Courtroom to Classroom is a program where teams of judges and attorneys visit 8th and 11th grade U.S. History classrooms twice a year to present standards based lessons. During each visit, the team presents a slideshow about an aspect of the Constitution and its place in United States history. The centerpiece of each visit is when students become lawyers and judges in a simulated moot court activity involving a real U.S. Supreme Court case. For more information, visit the Courtroom to Classroom Program on Constitutional Rights Foundation's website.
Teen Court is a program of the Los Angeles Superior Court where youthful offenders are diverted from the traditional justice system, replacing judges and attorneys with peers from other schools who question, judge and sentence alleged offenders. Teen Court offers valuable lessons about how courts operate and what it is like to be a part of the justice system. For more information, visit the Teen Court on the Los Angeles Superior Court website.
Street Law, Inc.
Street Law’s aim is to use interactive methods to teach young people practical law lessons by having law students teach high school students basic legal concepts. Street Law, Inc.—an outgrowth of the original Street Law program at Georgetown— develops classroom and grassroots programs for lawyers, teachers, law enforcement officers, juvenile justice professionals, and NGOs that educate students and communities about law, democracy, and human rights worldwide. For more information about Street Law, Inc. programs, click the Programs link on Street Law, Inc. website.
For a recent article about the growth of NALP/Street Law’s Diversity Pipeline Program, see this link on the National Association of Law Placement website.
Los Angeles County Bar Association
The Los Angeles County Bar (LACBA) offers a High School Mentoring Program to connect local high school students with lawyers in Los Angeles County who can serve as mentors and role models. If you are interested in participating in LACBA’s High School Mentoring Program, please contact Ann Park at Pond North.
Mexican American Bar Association High School Visitation Program
The Mexican American Bar Association (MABA) is a professional organization whose mission it is to empower the Latino community. Its membership is comprised of law students, attorneys, mediators, judges, and others in the legal community in Los Angeles County. MABA provides speakers who are law students, attorneys, and/or judges to area high schools. The purpose of the High School Visitation Program is to expose secondary students to members of the legal community who can share personal stories that resonate with students from diverse backgrounds. For more information, see the High School Visitation Program link on the MABA website.
Mexican American Attorney Mentorship Program
The Mexican American Bar Association offers the MABA Attorney Mentorship Program (AMP), which provides MABA's student members with the opportunity to build lasting relationships with experienced MABA attorneys who provide study, career, and job search advice and guidance to Latino law students. Attorneys serve as role models, offer academic and career advice, and guide students while developing professional networks. For more information, click on Attorney Mentorship Program link on the MABA website.
Beverly Hills Bar Association
The Beverly Hills Bar Association (BHBA) offers a High School Blue Car Project. For more information, please see link to BHBA’s High School Blue Car Project.
For tips on planning your field trip, visit the Field Trip link on the Street Law Inc. website.
Power Lunch is a field trip offered by the Los Angeles Superior Court, where students attend a lunch and meet with justice system professionals, including judges, lawyers, court reporters, interpreters and members of law enforcement. At the lunch, students are introduced to the Constitution and legal system, after which students break into smaller groups for personal interactions with judges and lawyers. The lunch ends with an interactive game. For more information, see the Power Lunch link on the Los Angeles Superior Court website. Please note that the court needs a minimum of 75 students in order to host a Power Lunch.
Appellate Court Experience (ACE)
ACE is an opportunity for students to visit the Court of Appeal and to gain a better understanding of the appellate court process. First, appellate attorneys visit a classroom to brief the students on a real case. Next, the students travel to the Court of Appeal to observe oral arguments and to interact with the justices and the attorneys. The program is done in partnership with Constitutional Rights Foundation, the California Court of Appeal, the Los Angeles County Bar Association's Appellate Courts Section (ACS), and the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers (CAAL). Visits are offered three times a year (once in the fall, winter and spring). For more information, see the Appellate Court Experience website.
“Meet the Federal Court”
The United States Courthouse offers 7th-12th graders an opportunity to visit the court on Thursdays or Fridays, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The program includes presentations by federal judges and representatives from various federal agencies. There is a 40 student minimum for participation and a minimum of three weeks advance notice to request a reservation. For more information, see the "Meet the Federal Court" program link on the United States District Court website.
L.A. Law Library
The L.A. Law Library provides presentations for high school students. All programming, except the workplace tour, can take place either at the library or at a school. The following is a shortened description of each program:
The Workplace Tours Program
This program provides a tour of the L.A. Law Library, a voting simulation, a demonstration of online resources, and a workplace panel of 5-8 professionals who discuss their career paths and answer student questions.
The Access to Justice Program
This panel addresses the “justice gap” in Los Angeles and helps students think about what can be done to bring the gap between the need for civil legal assistance by low and moderate income people and the resources available to meet that need. Students get an overview of legal aid in L.A. and participate in a hands-on exercise about class action lawsuits.
Law Curriculum Support Program
For high schools that offer classes in law-related topics, L.A. Law Library staff members will share their significant experience in the legal industry. Library representatives can provide guest lectures and facilitate in-class experience of the legal system, such as mock mediations or arbitrations. They can also serve as coaches or mentors for existing programs like Teen Court or Mock Trial.
For a more detailed description of each program, see the L.A. Law Library Program description link.
Law School Tours and Panels
All American Bar Association (ABA) accredited law schools in Los Angeles and Orange County provide on campus tours and classroom visits for potential students. For a more in-depth field trip, secondary teachers may be able to ask law schools to help coordinate a Panel, in which students travel to a law school and admissions officers, professors and students present information to secondary students who may be interested in attending law school or a having a career in the legal profession. For a sample agenda for a Law School Panel, see Dorsey High School's Visit To Loyola Law School or USC's Pathways to Law School Schedule.
To schedule a school tour or classroom visit and/or to inquire as to whether a school offers a Law School Panel, contact the admission offices of the following Los Angeles and Orange County law schools:
Chapman University Fowler School of Law
Loyola Law School
Pepperdine University School of Law
Southwestern Law School
University of California, Irvine School of Law
University of California, Los Angeles School of Law
University of La Verne College of Law
USC Gould School of Law
Western State University College of Law
Whittier Law School