On Friday July 19, our Summer Prep students had the opportunity to attend Law Day at Wiley Rein LLP in downtown DC. Dressed in professional wear, students worked with summer associates, law partners, and staff on contracts, TMA legal skills (research, argumentation, critical thinking, advocacy, and negotiation) and using your voice. Derek Petit, Wiley Rein Associate has been involved with Summer Law Day from the early days, and even helped facilitate our partnership with Howard Law (his alma mater). He really stressed “making a connection with the students,” to fellow Wiley Rein employees in the early morning training.
Understanding contracts is an important skill in life and as it relates to our TMA students, they will sign several contracts this fall to set expectations for the school year. School contracts like… code of conduct, anti-violence, homework help, computer lab safety, etc are just a few agreements that both the students and parents need to be aware of to be successful at Thurgood Marshall Academy. By the end of this session, students had a grasp of the three elements of contract negotiation: an offer, an acceptance, and a consideration. “Each year the students bring such a great energy to law day. It’s my third year participating, the curriculum is so relevant for them and its always interesting seeing them gain confidence throughout the day, from the contract work to the mock trails,” says Samantha Lee, Wiley Rein Associate.
Next, the students were presented with a (situation) case and from that had to conduct a small claims mock trial. For most of our students this was their first time hearing of or participating in a mock trial. Many are familiar with Judge Judy or Judge Mathis and you should have seen the excitement when they were able to be the judge, plaintiff or defendant for the case. Students split up to discuss the evidence, write out talking points, and develop their arguments. This was Wiley Rein’s Counsel, Keith Matthews’ third year participating in TMA’s Summer Law Day. “I Iook forward to this each summer and this year’s group of students were excited and engaged in the law components. I really enjoyed counseling the ‘judges’ during the mock trail. It was great to see student Ka’Niya decipher the word mitigate through our conversations.”
At the end of the day, each group chose a ‘Lawyer of the Day’. This was awarded to a student who was an active participant, showed a certain zest for law, or displayed significant improvement or involvement throughout their time together. Students were asked their favorite parts of law day? “Mock trials, being a judge, being in the law firm, winning my case, arguing with others, getting lawyer of the day, defending myself, talking to real lawyers,” exclaimed the students.
A special thank you to TMA’s Summer Prep Staff and Programs Team for all your hard work coordinating this incredible day. Lastly, to Diana Yee (Attorney Recruitment Assistant) and Janell Mallard (Senior Recruiting and Diversity Manager) with Wiley Rein for assisting with logistics of the 2019 TMA Summer Law Day!