By Mariela Quintana
For many a New York teen, summer means cruising the boardwalk at Coney Island. The prospect of keeping up with summer reading lists, let alone attending summer school is bleak. But an innovative enrichment program offered at Pace Law School provides the antidote to the July and August brain drain and the doldrums of summer prep courses.
Today marks the conclusion of The Summer Justice Academy, a week-long academic immersion program for 35 minority and underserved teenage girls from across the city. The Summer Justice Academy is the brainchild of Supreme Court Justices Laura Jacobson of Brooklyn and La Tia W. Martin of the Bronx who have brought together female judges, law professors and practicing lawyers to empower the young girls and encourage them to pursue higher education and careers in the law.
In collaboration with the National Association of Women Judges, the faculty serves as role models for the girls and teaches courses aimed to introduce the girls to the legal profession. Lecture topics range from criminal to matrimonial law among others. Other courses address real life issues for the girls like domestic violence and cyber bullying and examine their legal repercussions.
The program includes visits to Westchester County Courthouse and Washington, D.C., where the girls will take guided tours of the Capitol Building, the United States Supreme Court and, possibly, the White House. In addition to providing legal coursework and field trips, the Summer Justice Academy is committed to fostering self-confidence and leadership skills in the girls who participate.
The Summer Justice Academy is very similar to BYMC’s own Advocacy and Thought Leadership Academy in that both programs hope to inspire teenage girls to become leaders in their communities and advocate for causes they believe in.
As we here at BYMC know all too well, minority and underserved teenage girls all too often consider a college or a career in law inaccessible—if they’ve even considered it at all. Like BYMC, the Summer Justice Academy is working to change this perception.
For more information about the Summer Justice Academy for Young Women, contact Shari Gordon, Esq., co-chair of the academy, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To read more on the Justice Academy, check out these articles: