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high school students and justices meeting in courtroom

High school students in the Law and Justice Summer Program meet Hawaiʻi supreme court justices.

A week-long summer program in law and justice for 14 students from six Hawaiʻi public high schools began on June 5 at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa William S. Richardson School of Law. The Law and Justice Summer Program is an intensive immersion into the legal world and participants observe a trial in progress, attend classes taught by law school faculty and participate in a mock trial.

The high schools particpating this year are Farrington, Kaiser, McKinley, Nānākuli, Waiʻanae and Waipahu.

“This program could have an impact on college choices and aspirations,” said Associate Faculty Specialist Liam Skilling, who heads the program. “It provides access to engaging, high quality civic education because that is not as heavily focused on in the high school curriculum. By introducing many aspects of law, this could encourage students to consider legal education or related careers.”

The program seeks to demystify law for young people who may come from backgrounds and populations that are traditionally under-represented among attorneys, judges and other decision-makers in society. Students also build their skills in debate, analysis, research and discussion.

Students sit in on a Circuit Court trial in progress, have lunch at a law firm, visit the Hawaiʻi State Supreme Court, and meet a panel of legislators at the State Capitol. They also will be coached and mentored by current law students and taught by faculty, judges and practicing attorneys.

“We also hope it provides the inspiration for students to become active, involved citizens in their communities,” said Skilling.

Read the William S. Richardson School of Law news release for more on the program.

people sitting at table in classroom

High school students working with William S. Richardson student mentors and faculty.

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