BGHS is beginning the third year with the ELPO Legal Diversity Pipeline project. This year’s group includes freshmen, sophomores, and juniors that are interested in the legal profession. The group met with attorney Rebecca Simpson, the organizer of the program on Thursday, October 3. The Legal Diversity Pipeline is intended to help mentor students, and has a particular focus on underrepresented populations.
"Our students and school districts benefit when community members and local businesses work with schools to provide opportunities,” says Superintendent Gary Fields. “This partnership is a ‘win-win’ connecting students interested in a career in law or law enforcement to current local professionals."
The program works to bring a variety of legal professions into high school classrooms, with representatives from the legal field available at college and career fairs to discuss what educational paths students should pursue if they would like to pursue law as a career, and identifies students who may be interested in a mentoring relationship within the legal field to provide that guidance, and provides internship opportunities to students interested in working in the legal profession.
The project also includes a field trip in the spring, with a trip to the courthouse to witness a courtroom session in progress, a tour of the jail and police department, a panel discussion with a variety of legal professionals, and a roundtable discussion opportunity for older students participating in the program. A celebration and wrap up will conclude the program for the year.
Outgoing freshmen and sophomores will have the opportunity to participate in the program again next year for a more in-depth experience, and those moving onto the junior and senior level will have the chance to apply for possible internships.
While all freshmen with an interest in the field of law are invited to participate in the program, there is a particular emphasis on those with diverse backgrounds.
“If we’re going to diversify the field of law, we’re going to need to do so in all aspects, from law enforcement to law firms,” says Bob Young, managing partner of ELPO. “People who are from different racial and ethnic backgrounds or who are considered diverse in other ways enrich the profession, challenge our thinking and help us better represent all people. We truly believe that many people would consider the field of law or law enforcement if they know there will be opportunities available to them, and that’s the message we’re bringing.”