After opening the letter from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and learning that he had been selected as a Millennium Scholar, Bryan Quijada immediately sent an email to Dean Kathy Northern, the LLI administrator at Mortiz College of Law, writing “This changes everything.” A graduate of Beechcroft High School in Columbus, Bryan was selected from among 50,000 applicants and, as a Gates Scholar, will have all of his financial needs met for his four-year undergraduate degree at The Ohio State University and perhaps through graduate school as well. Bryan attributed this tremendous accomplishment, in part, to his four-year participation in LLI and the support and assistance he received from Dean Northern.
While Bryan held outside employment during high school, he scheduled his job for the early morning hours so that he could change clothes, ride two busses, and arrive at Moritz College of Law by 9:00 a.m. in order to take LLI Summer Classes. He studied whenever he could. On the bus rides to visit colleges, Bryan drilled on vocabulary words to improve his ACT scores. Cybele Smith, one of the LLI instructors at Moritz College of Law, explained, “the young man personifies hard work, humility and sheer tenacity with a big heart.”
During his tenure in LLI, Bryan interned at the law firm Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLC during the summer between his ninth and tenth grades. Vorys attorneys and paralegals gave Bryan feedback as he worked through mock trial problems. One attorney noted that Bryan was quiet and shy, but approached his work with special thoughtfulness.
Through the Young Scholars and the Seniors-to-Sophomores programs, Bryan took OSU classes and recently completed his first year of college classes simultaneously with his senior year of high school. In addition to serving as class valedictorian, Bryan also participated in mock trial, STEM Club, and the Kenyon College Writer’s Program and received varsity letters in soccer, track, and swimming.
Bryan plans to study aeronautical engineering at The Ohio State University this fall.
Law and Leadership Institute Columbus student Athena Williams is featured in a recently produced video by Court News Ohio and The Supreme Court of Ohio. Williams just completed her second year of LLI’s Summer Institute at Ohio State’s Moritz College of Law and will be a sophomore at Licking Heights High School this upcoming 2014 fall school year. Williams shares her perspective on LLI and what it has done for her.
Published: July 31, 2014––Twenty local high school students were honored at the Akron Bar Association recently for graduating from the Law and Leadership Institute, a statewide initiative that collaborates with the legal community to prepare high school students from under-served communities for post-secondary and professional success.
The program is a comprehensive, four year academic course in law, leadership, analytical thinking, problem solving, writing skills and professionalism.
In addition to year-round classes on legal and leadership topics, students engage in mock trials, internships at local law firms, ACT preparation class and college tours.
The University of Akron School of Law is the local site for the Institute with support from the Akron Bar Foundation. This is the sixth year Akron has been one of the Law and Leadership sites in Ohio.
The majority of Law and Leadership students from across the state are minorities and many of the students are from low income households, according.
Joann Sahl, director of the program, said the Institute has had remarkable success in graduates attending college – the majority the first of their families to be enrolled in four-year programs.
“The program is as much about getting them ready for college as it is introducing them to law as a career,” said Sahl. “Most of our students are first generation. We are giving them access to all college has to offer, and exposing them to the idea that they can succeed in college.”
“The Law and Leadership Institute was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” said Law and Leadership graduate Imokhai Okolo. “I was introduced to one of my biggest passion––mock trial, and with the help of Law and Leadership, I was able to get into my top choice college––Miami University.”
Also honored were 10th grade students completing a one-week internship at local law firms.
Buckingham Doolittle & Burroughs LLC has been an internships site since the program began.
“The Law & Leadership Program provides us with the unique opportunity to inspire and encourage high school students from under-served communities,” said Bill Caplan, Buckingham managing partner, the local law firm that recently hosted two student interns.
“We strongly support the goals of the program, and we have over the years generously given of our time in support of the program,” said Caplan. “The program also allows us to explain to the students why we are proud of our profession, proud of our community, and most proud of Buckingham and its accomplishments over the past century.”
LLI Cincinnati students collected over 1,200 books and donated them to Children’s Hospital, Ronald McDonald House, and Crayons to Computers in their “Pages 4 Patients” community service project. “Pages 4 Patients” is a community service project developed by LLI students to provide reading materials to children in hospitals who are away from home and school. The book drive took place the first three weeks of the LLI Summer Institute when 9th-12th graders were present. The initial plan was to focus on providing books to Children’s Hospital, but so many books where collected that additional hospitals and non-profits were included. The responsibility of collecting, distributing and sorting the books was placed solely on the students and incentives were provided for bringing in the most books.
“Pages 4 Patients” was a huge success! The 10 LLI students that collected the most books enjoyed a trip to Orange Leaf as a reward for their efforts and the entire student body felt the personal reward of providing families in their own communities with more opportunities to read, even while recovering in a hospital bed.
Way to go LLI Cincinnati students!
7/9/14 -- Kerry Holmes has yet to graduate from high school, but he’s already completed an internship in a law office, putting him one step closer to his goal of becoming a lawyer.
The Firestone High School senior is one of 60 local high school students currently being hosted on campus by The University of Akron School of Law for the Law and Leadership Institute’s (LLI) summer academic program.
“Two years ago I interned at Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs,” recalls Holmes. “I got to meet all the people, talk to the paralegals, and even debate with attorneys on Obama’s health care act.”
Increasing diversity in legal field
The LLI is a statewide initiative in collaboration with the legal community that prepares students from underserved communities for college and professional success through a four-year academic program in law, leadership, analytical thinking, writing and professionalism.
The goal of the program is to increase diversity in law school and in the legal profession.
“In order to effectively represent all the people, the legal profession must strive to be as diverse as the people we represent,” says attorney Edward Gilbert, former president of the Akron/Canton Barristers Association, a group of predominately African-American judges and attorneys. “To achieve this goal we start with the young. The Law and Leadership program strives to produce leaders; leaders become lawyers.”
This is the sixth year in which UA has been one of the six sites hosting the LLI program (including sites in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Toledo). The LLI, the Ohio and Akron Bar Foundations, and the United Way provide the funding.
The students at UA’s camp — most of them from Akron Public Schools, Barberton High School and Coventry High School — move through the four-year program in cohorts, taking classes led by UA law students, hearing guest speakers, going on field trips and working as legal interns.
Students entering the ninth grade spend five weeks learning about the court system, criminal procedure, constitutional rights and the appeals process. Guest speakers include local attorneys, judges, entrepreneurs and professors. On July 24, the freshmen will participate in a mock trial at the Akron Municipal Court.
“You actually felt like you were a lawyer,” says Jaden Hescht, a sophomore at Barberton High School, recalling last year’s mock trial.
The students, who are instructed in professional etiquette, say they are held to high expectations and given great respect.
“The teachers treat you like a professional,” says Tabitha Meers, a freshman at Akron Early College High School on UA’s campus. “You have a voice that matters. Your opinions are challenged more often, and you have to know both sides of a case.”
During their four-week session, sophomores learn about civil law, with topics ranging from civil rights to freedom of speech and consumer law. They spend their final week interning at a local law firm, corporate legal department or public sector law office.
Holmes and other upperclassmen are spending their three-week session focused on college preparation. They are polishing resumes, visiting colleges and universities, and meeting with counselors and advisers. On July 11, they will participate in a mock trial at UA’s School of Law at 9:30 a.m.
Access = success
“The program is as much about getting them ready for college as it is introducing them to law as a career,” says Joann Sahl, director of the program at UA. “Most of our students are first generation. We are giving them access to all college has to offer, and exposing them to the idea that they can succeed in college.”
Students continue in the LLI program throughout the academic year, meeting on several Saturdays throughout the fall and spring semesters to build upon the skills gained during the summer.
“You learn important skills no matter what field you’re going into,” notesAriana Davis, a sophomore at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School. “I don’t want to be a lawyer, but we all use law skills, like public speaking and enunciation, reading and writing. These are skills that make you a better citizen overall.”
Story by Nicholas Nussan -- 7-9-14
The Law and Leadership 2014 Institute Summer Program is off to a great start at Case Western Reserve University School of Law! Tenth, eleventh and twelfth graders have undertaken a community service project in conjunction with the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. Each grade has been divided into the following subgroups:
- Media - 12th graders
- Flyers - 11th graders
- Posters - 10th graders
Each group is responsible for an aspect of the marketing and donation campaign. The students have set a goal to raise 100 donations in two weeks! The food drive will end on July 9 and all of the donations will be delivered to the Greater Cleveland Food Bank on Thursday, July 10. Students will promote the campaign at the law school and campus wide at Case and CSU.
The twelfth grade students have drafted a press release with further details about the project and ways to get involved:
One in six people are food insecure; they do not know where their next meal will come from. The Greater Cleveland Food Bank is the largest hunger relief organization in Northeast Ohio. They distribute 90,000 pounds of food a day. One-third of the recipients are children. They cannot do it alone. We ask you to reach out a hand and help them feed millions just by donating a single can or food item. “Hunger strikes at the core of a person’s dignity.”
Items eligible for donation:
- Canned meats
- Peanut Butter & Jelly
- Vegetables, Fruits (canned)
- Beans (dried or canned)
- Macaroni and Cheese
- Boxed Meals
- Pasta and Pasta Sauce
- Fruit Juice
- Sugar and Flour
- Coffee and Tea
Please drop all donations off on the ground floor of Gund Hall on the Case Western Reserve University Campus at 11075 East Boulevard, Cleveland, Ohio 44106-7148.
Way to go LLI Case Western students, keep up the great work!
Tomorrow’s Youth Benefit from Today’s Trailblazer: Law and Leadership Institute Recognizes Extraordinary Efforts of OSBA Executive Bill Weisenberg
Columbus (June 17, 2014)—Some people think about making a difference. Some talk about it. It is the rare person who turns those thoughts and words into action. William K. Weisenberg, a 35-year veteran staff member of the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA), is one of those rare people. He was instrumental in starting Ohio’s Law & Leadership Institute (LLI), a statewide initiative to prepare students from underserved communities for success through a comprehensive four-year academic program in law, leadership, analytical thinking, problem-solving, writing skills and professionalism.
On June 15, the LLI Board of Trustees unanimously voted to name OSBA Assistant Director Bill Weisenberg as an emeritus member of the board. Emeritus status is reserved for trustees who complete two full three-year terms and merit the distinction based on their extraordinary support of LLI and its mission.
Weisenberg was selected for emeritus status to recognize his collaborative work with the Supreme Court of Ohio, Ohio’s nine law schools and its legal community to create LLI, and his dedication to the expansion of program opportunities for LLI students throughout the state.
Steve Jemison, LLI president and CEO, said of Weisenberg, “Bill is a visionary. Not only was he a driving force in creating LLI in 2008, but he continues to dedicate his time and talents to publicly support the organization and its fundraising activities.” He added, “Bill’s dedication to LLI will benefit our students for many, many years to come.”
Weisenberg noted, “Our youth represent our future. While many of Ohio’s young people have ample opportunity for academic and professional success, many still do not. LLI can open doors to that kind of success, and I am pleased to be a small part of that effort.”
By Jenna Gant | Court News Ohio -- June 3, 2014 -- The Law and Leadership Institute (LLI) is hosting a 2014 Leadership Training and Reception for nearly 70 law students and law school administrators from across Ohio who will serve as instructors during this year’s LLI Summer Institute. More than 425 high school students are expected to participate in the 2014 institute
LLI collaborates with the state’s legal community to prepare students from underserved communities for college and professional success. The four-year academic program provides classes about law, leadership, analytical thinking, problem solving, writing skills, and professionalism.
The training and reception will be held on June 12-13 at The Ohio State University 4H Center. The lawyers and administrators will participate in workshops focused on LLI’s curriculum used to introduce high school students to the law and legal system.
“The Leadership Conference is an important opportunity for all LLI sites statewide to come together rand refocus on our mission for the coming year,” Heather Creed, LLI chief operations officer, said. “Our students are at the heart of everything we do, and the better prepared our staff is, the more effectively they can serve the students.”
LLI will honor several law offices and LLI supporters during the June 12 reception where Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor will be accepting the Exemplary Legal Supporter award on behalf of the Ohio Supreme Court.
Columbus LLI 2014 graduate Alexis Appareciao is featured in a recently produced documentary entitled, "The Power of Poetry." Ms. Appareciao was also recently crowned Ms. Bronze 2014 at Ohio University, and is advancing to the district Ms. Bronze competition. Congratulations!
The Akron Bar Association awarded LLI Akron the Akron Bar Association Diversity Award at their April 30th, 2014 Law Day Bar Luncheon. Thank you, ABA!