The Journey to Attorney Pre-Law Summer Camp for high school students will be held again this year. The dates for the camp are July 11 through July 17, 2021. The Camp will be held on Zoom.
For more information and registration click here: https://www.uab.edu/cas/criminaljustice/camps/pre-law-camp
The Scottsboro Boys cases provide extensive educational materials including actual artifacts, original transcripts, and established scholarship. The materials are also peppered with example after example of ordinary people, faced with injustice, who courageously act to restore justice. Presenter Judge John Graham reminds the students that the “arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
The students are given the challenge of re-imagining the Scottsboro Boys cases. They are free to add anything they imagine to the story provided they do not change existing facts. Their deliverable for the camp is a brief evocative description, account, or episode that tells the story of justice. The deliverable can be in any form the students choose. They may choose, for example, to have a brief drama of jury or grand jury deliberation. They may write and present music, display art, or perform news reports.
I am encouraged that for the past two years the students have chosen a mini-mock trial. Their choice suggests that they still trust the judicial system and are willing to at least consider that the system works as long as the people in the system demonstrate courage.
Instructionally, the camp is multi-layered. One layer of the camp is the schedule itself. It is intended to imitate the work schedule of an attorney approaching a jury trial. The learning objective is that professional identity is defined by work ethic which is evidenced by each person’s individual body of work. The students start pre-work long before the camp starts by reading original transcripts, biographies about the persons involved and watching documentaries. They take quizzes and write essays to assess their readiness.
Once the camp starts, the schedule is intense with about 12 hours of sessions each day. When the day’s sessions end, students are given pre-work materials for the next day of sessions. Each morning, they are tested on those pre-work materials to assess their readiness.
Students are divided into teams. Each team is designed to have legacy and non-legacy members. A legacy member is a member that has an attorney in their immediate family. As teams, students work through application exercises and advanced application exercises, first to be introduced to the following pre-professional competencies, and then to discover a roadmap to become lifetime learners.
- Reading to comprehend (deep or contemplative reading);
- Writing to be understood;
- Critical thinking;
- Speaking to persuade; and
To the degree possible, the session presenters are practicing attorneys, judges, and subject matter experts. It would not be surprising to find any of our presenters recognized nationally for their body of work.
At least once a day, students participate in a discussion group where they build community and learn how to respectfully disagree. This builds the foundation students need to work together to imagine, develop, and deliver their vision of justice on the last day of the camp.
Each year we have been able to accomplish our objectives during the camp this year and have received positive feedback from our students, parents, and partners. We continue to assess how to continue to provide resources to our students to carry what they learn at camp back to their homes and communities.
Your role in the camp is essential. I pray that you will continue to support our work and consider encouraging participation from your friends and colleagues who want to make an investment injustice. Again, I am humbly grateful.
You can dig deeper into the Camp objectives here: https://lifecrafter.org/2019-pre-law-camp-re-imagining-the-scottsboro-nine/
For more information, please email the Camp Director: