The New York State Bar Association has been selected as the winner of a 2015 American Bar Association Partnership Award for promoting diversity in the legal profession.
The state bar’s Youth Law Day program, sponsored by the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, was recognized on Friday in Chicago during a joint luncheon of the National Conference of Bar Presidents, National Association of Bar Executives and National Conference of Bar Foundations.
“The goal of the Youth Law Day program is to introduce diverse high school students to the legal profession,” said past state bar President Kenneth G. Standard of New York City. He co-chairs the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion with Rosevelie Marquez Morales of New York City.
Youth Law Day provides ethnically diverse high school students with sense of the law school experience and aims to alter the notion that law school is unattainable. The centerpiece of Youth Law Day is an interactive classroom experience led by law school faculty, where students apply the law to the facts of a case.
“This innovative program would not have been possible without the forward thinking of Ken Standard,” said state bar President David P. Miranda. “We are pleased the ABA has recognized it with a Partnership Award.”
Miranda, Past Presidents Standard and Kate Madigan, along with New York Puerto Rican Bar Association President Betty Lugo accepted the award on behalf of the state bar.
The idea for the program was created by the state bar in 2004 when Standard, president at the time, convened a special committee on youth outreach to address inequities in available opportunities for diverse youth.
The program’s first event was held in 2006 at Fordham Law School. Since then, 11 law schools have sponsored 32 programs reaching more than 2,000 students. Programs include such topics as how to apply to law schools, financing education and what you can do with a law degree. On average, 50 percent of students who complete the program evaluation indicate interest in attending law school.
Today, a subcommittee with seven members maintain contacts at all 15 New York law schools and works to develop programs at each school.