Apprenticeship Recap: Intro to Debate with Skadden

Since fall 2014, attorneys and staff at Skadden, a New York-based law firm with 22 offices worldwide, have led apprenticeships at Citizen Schools, inspiring students to dream big while teaching practical skills exercised in the legal field. Last fall, a dozen Skadden personnel guided students through a 10-week Introduction to Debate class at the Urban Assembly Academy for Future Leaders School in West Harlem. The Skadden volunteers were naturals in the classroom, and it was inspiring to see them work with eighth graders like Demere, who was featured in our last newsletter. In one of the mid-semester sessions, the students were divided into teams and debated what type of movie is better: superhero movies or comedies. Creative arguments were presented on both sides, with one student arguing that “comedies and a bowl of ice cream are a cure-all for any grief you’re experiencing in your life.” The Skadden team encouraged deep and lively debates throughout the course and taught basic debate skills, including mapping out your argument, thinking through the pros and cons of the side you’re representing, and listening to the other side's arguments. These are lessons that will impact the students not only in their apprenticeship but also in their lives outside the classroom. We’re grateful to have a long-standing partnership with Skadden — a firm that values giving back to our communities and investing in the futures of our youth!