Legal education no longer begins in law school. A small but growing number of educators see the law as an innovative way to reframe traditional curricula and help students develop the critical-thinking skills they will need to be successful in college, Street Law reported in its story, "Legal Education Goes to Middle School."
Some educators believe that exposing students to the law - particularly minority and at-risk kids - is key to diversifying the legal profession, the story said. Law-themed schools seem to be gaining in popularity. Some law-themed schools are charters, some are magnets and others have been around for years within traditional public school districts.
In Indianapolis, attorneys will assume the role of teachers this year at Shortridge Magnet High School for Law & Public Policy, Street Law reported. The grades six through 12 public school opened last year with a mission to prepare students for college through the exploration of law and social justice.
About 40 lawyers from Baker & Daniels and the legal department of Eli Lily and Company are teaching a 10th-grade course this year, including one semester each of civil law and criminal law ? a program developed through Street Law.
"This is definitely very focused on exposing kids to legal careers," said Brita Horvath, the diversity and pro bono coordinator at Baker & Daniels. "A lot of the time when we talk about diversity it's, 'Who is going to law school?' But a lot of it is about who is going to college. You have to drill further down the pipeline."