October 11, 2010

Mark Sausser Stresses Reading, Writing & Analyzing to Shortridge Students

A classroom has been transformed into a courtroom of sorts at Shortridge Magnet High School for Law and Public Policy, the Indianapolis Star reported in its story, "Lawyers Helping Students See Their Future in the Law."

Lawyers from Baker & Daniels and Eli Lilly and Company are working with Alene Smith's sophomore social studies class for 12 weeks, lending their real-life experience to such legal issues as contract negotiations, product liability, family law and consumerism, the story reported. Street Law Inc., a nonprofit organization encouraging students of color to enter the legal profession, matches lawyers and corporations with schools to promote diversity in the legal profession, which has about an 11 percent minority membership.

Students recently peppered Mark Sausser, a lawyer at Baker & Daniels, with questions about contracts, the subject of the day, the Indianapolis Star story reported.

Sausser presented a scenario: Say he promises his daughter a Mercedes when she turns 16. "Do I have to give it to her?" he asks.

"No. It's not in writing," a student says. But Sausser is quick to point out that a contract doesn't have to be in writing, according to the story.

"She's too young to sign a contract," another student blurts out. Technically correct, but not the answer Sausser was looking for, the Indianapolis Star reported.

"I didn't get anything in return," he explained. "It's not a mutual agreement."

Chalk up another lesson learned in the classroom, the story said.

Sausser, a real estate lawyer, told the Indianapolis Star that the students have quickly picked up legal concepts, such as the components of a contract.

"The media concept of a lawyer is a TV show," Sausser said in the story. "What they really don't understand is what a lawyer really does is read, write and negotiate.

"If they're going to become a lawyer," Sausser added, "They really need to work on reading, writing and analyzing skills, because that's what it's all about."
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