March 26, 2018
Street Law’s Legal Diversity Pipeline Program taps the knowledge, experience, and altruism of the legal community to teach young people from diverse communities about everyday, practical law and about legal careers—with an ultimate goal of encouraging more young people of color to pursue a career in the legal profession.
All of Street Law’s Legal Diversity Pipeline Program partners—more than 70 companies and law firms around the country—use the same core program components. Each visits a partner school to teach about basic legal concepts and then hosts the students for a Legal Careers Conference at the corporate headquarters or firm. An important element for many partners has become “enhancement” activities, designed by the sponsoring firm or law department, that provide additional learning opportunities for student participants. These enhancements take many forms, including job shadowing experiences, internships, scholarships, and college essay and test prep assistance.
Read on to learn about four exemplary enhancement activities from participating companies:
- Southern California Edison’s Scholarship Program
- Nationwide’s Mock Trial Program
- Eli Lilly and Company and Faegre Baker Daniels’ Personal Branding Program
- Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corporation’s Summer Internship Program
For assistance in enhancing your Legal Diversity Pipeline Program, or in starting a new one, contact Joy Dingle.
Southern California Edison’s Scholarship Contest
For the last 10 years, Southern California Edison (SCE) has enhanced their program with an essay-writing scholarship contest. The students who participate in SCE’s Legal Diversity Pipeline Program can compete for one of six $500 scholarships by writing a 500-word essay. The essay prompt is different each year; in spring 2017 students wrote about whether voting in the U.S. should be compulsory or remain voluntary. The scholarships are funded by a grant from Southern California Edison’s parent company, Edison International. Many of the students in this program will be the first in their families to go to a four-year college.
Nationwide’s Mock Trial Program
Nationwide’s Columbus-based Pipeline Program organizes a mock trial competition for students. After participating in Nationwide’s classroom visits and Legal Careers Conference, students can opt in to the mock trial portion. They are divided into defense and plaintiff teams. Volunteers from the Nationwide law department and the law firm of Bricker & Eckler serve as coaches and visit the school to help students prepare for the trial.
Students then spend a half day at the firm, and the culminating trial is held in Bricker & Eckler’s mock courtroom. In addition to the trial, students have breakfast and lunch and receive post-trial feedback from the “jury” composed of Bricker lawyers.
The volunteer team at Nationwide reports that the mock trial program is a great way to follow up with students who ended the Pipeline Program engaged and excited.
Eli Lilly and Company and Faegre Baker Daniels’ Personal Branding Program
Given the role that social media plays in networking, Eli Lilly and Company and Faegre Baker Daniels have added a professional branding component to their program. In addition to lessons on contracts, copyrights, and human resource law, legal professionals’ visits to Arsenal Tech High School classrooms cover the important topic of responsible use of social media. Volunteers lead students through the exercise of creating their own LinkedIn profiles, including career aspirations, past work experience, languages spoken, and accomplishments.
Kaitlin Fisher, program coordinator from Faegre Baker Daniels, says that one of the reasons this enhancement was developed was so students could begin to build a professional network online and be able to stay connected with the legal professionals they interacted with during the program. She reports being able to stay in contact with students as they now enter their senior year of high school or first year of college.
Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corporation’s Summer Internship Program
Each year, two students who participate in Marriott Vacations’ Pipeline Program in Orlando are given the opportunity of their young professional lives—a paid summer internship in the company’s law department. The internship program gives students a unique opportunity to see first-hand what it is like to work in a corporate setting. The Marriott Vacations team works to ensure the experience is meaningful; students work alongside law department staff on real assignments, shadow the lawyers and other legal professionals, and participate in team meetings. They go on field trips to Marriott Vacations’ properties and even get to tour the local court and meet with a state court judge.
The internship program was conceived and championed in 2007 by the company’s general counsel, James Hunter. Hunter says, “The internship seemed like an excellent complement to our Street Law program, and we’ve found that the interns make a meaningful contribution to the department in the six weeks they spend with us.”
(Reproduced with permission)
Corporate Legal Diversity Pipeline Program
Legal Diversity Pipeline Program for Law Firms