June 11, 2009
ATLANTA—The 2009 Gate City Bar Association's Justice Benham Law Camp kicked off this week at Georgia State University College of Law.
Phillip Musey, Maalik Simmons and Danielle Hayes are among 26 high school students selected to learn about the legal profession over the next three weeks, through not only classroom instruction, but by meeting practicing minority lawyers and judges, preparing for mock trial demonstrations and touring legal institutions, such as the Georgia Supreme Court and the Georgia Court of Appeals.
“The Justice Robert Benham Law Camp is an extraordinary opportunity for me to develop my skills as a critical thinker and a problem solver,” said Musey, a ninth-grader at Parkview High School. “I aspire to change the world for the better. I long for a world where people value each other and seek to bring out the best in others, and I think the law profession will be a crucial component to my ambition to change the world.”
The purpose of the Justice Robert Benham Law Camp is to build a pipeline for the legal education of African-Americans by educating and encouraging more minority students to consider careers in the legal profession. The three-week camp, named for Georgia Supreme Court Justice Robert Benham, is presented through a partnership of the Georgia State University College of Law, the Gate City Bar Association and Clark Atlanta University.
“The law camp provides a unique opportunity for young people to learn of the wonders of the law and the role lawyers play in healing the community through problem solving,” said Justice Robert Benham (pictured right). “Young people who otherwise might not have been able to consider becoming a lawyer can now, through the law camp, pursue a legal career.”
Students like Ashlee Rouse of Douglass High School are not only able to learn from Georgia State faculty, but current law students often give advice and share stories about their law school experience. During the program the high schoolers also discuss life skills such as time management, dressing for success, self-assessment and applying to college.
“I would like to know what it could feel like to serve ordinary people like me by bringing justice to them through something I love doing,” said Christi Moore, an 11th grade student at North Atlanta High School.
During their final week, participants have the opportunity to intern in a real world legal environment. Interning gives the students practical experience to enrich their exploration into the field of law, said College of Law Admissions Director Dr. Cheryl George, one of the program's organizers.
“I hope to gain an insides hands-on experience through the guidance of many law professionals,” said James Horne, an 11th grader at Banneker High School. “I think this camp will help me to become a criminal litigator by providing me with opportunities that many students will not be able to obtain.”