Anne Bowie is the Public Service Manager at WilmerHale in Boston. She is a longtime volunteer and supporter of Citizen Schools. WilmerHale, the international law firm where I work, has been teaching mock trial apprenticeships with Citizen Schools every semester for the past 15 years. That's 30 apprenticeships overall! I am proud to say that I have been involved in 14 of them. Each semester we are excited to get into the classroom and build America's future attorneys. At WilmerHale, Citizen Schools is part of who we are and what we do.
We are particularly proud that every semester our classroom has a one to one student to attorney ratio. We engage 12 of our own employees as Citizen Teachers in the classroom and an additional ten employees who act as jurors and witnesses at the end of the semester mock trial event. Every student gets his or her own mentor throughout the entire apprenticeship experience.
Our attorneys have come out in full force to support the apprentices. Over the years we've engaged more than 250 employees and volunteered more than 14,400 hours. We've even taken our partnership bi-coastal! Our colleagues in California lead a mock trial apprenticeship with the Citizen Schools program at Cesar Chavez Academy in East Palo Alto. Over the years we've seen how far that commitment goes.
Several Citizen Schools alumni have gone on to pursue internships at our Boston office, and we are proud to hire them. Manouska Almonord, a senior at Boston Latin Academy and a graduate of Citizen Schools 8th Grade Academy, was one of WilmerHale’s 2012 Summer Leadership Institute interns. During the internship, Manouska was one of eight interns who attended academic classes, visited client sites, and enjoyed luncheons with WilmerHale attorneys and staff. She even got to sit at Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick's desk during a field trip to the State House.
We are thrilled that the fall 2012 semester has officially kicked off. Each year WilmerHale dedicates resources to a Citizen Schools campus. This year we are proud to be the only law firm working with the inaugural 6th grade class of Citizen Schools students at the Lee School in Boston, Massachusetts. We look forward to supporting the students at Lee in developing their interests in law and social justice through the apprenticeship program and continuing our deep partnership with Citizen Schools and the school community.
This week we had our first session with the kids at Lee and we are so happy to be back in the classroom. Our students are already buzzing with excitement about the class. Here's what they had to say:
“I like how you can talk to real people and really experience what lawyers do today” – Vivi Dang
“The apprenticeship is fun and we get to meet lawyers. We get to solve problems in a calm way and avoid getting in a serious argument.” – Juloni Harroldhart
“The apprenticeship is really exciting because I feel like I’m a lawyer myself” – Christina Pham
“I’m excited to work with a real judge.” – Amoni Whitmore
We know this semester will be just like all 30 of the others-- a life changing experience for our WilmerHale volunteers and the 12 bright students we are serving.