On December 1, students from John L. LeFlore Magnet High School gathered to participate in a Mock Legislative Hearing, presented by Adams and Reese LLP and Street Law, at the Government Plaza in Downtown Mobile. The culminating event was part of a semester-long program that included classroom visits from Adams and Reese attorneys, where firm volunteers taught lessons and led activities designed to increase students' knowledge and interest in the law and the legal profession.
In preparation for the hearing, the students took part in a lesson that focused on lobbying and the roles of lobbyists, the legislative process, and bill-making. They worked through different scenarios discussing proposed bills centered around distracted driving. As a result, students were to be able to assess the impact of a proposed law, analyze data, and develop and implement a survey. At the Mock Legislative Hearing, some students played the role of legislators while the rest represented four different interest groups. Those representing the interest groups were required to give an opening statement, and the teams collectively answered questions posed by the legislators. After hearing from all four groups, the legislators deliberated publicly and delivered a verdict.
Because the lessons concentrated on the legislative process, Cory Penn, a graduate of LeFlore High School and Mobile City Council District 1 representative, attended the mock hearing to present his pathway to becoming Councilman. Also in attendance were Mobile County Public School Board Members Sherry Dillihay-McDade and Dr. Reginald A. Crenshaw.
“The mock legislative hearing is a notable example of empowering students through applying newly learned legal concepts and skills building with the support of the firm’s legal professionals, said Joy Dingle, Director of Legal Diversity Pipeline Programs at Street Law. “There is no better way for students to learn about the law and feel welcomed by the legal profession.”
This semester served as part of Adams and Reese’s and the state of Alabama’s inaugural Legal Diversity Pipeline Program. In partnership with Street Law, the firm’s Legal Diversity Pipeline Program offers young people from diverse backgrounds lessons about everyday, practical law and legal careers—with an ultimate goal of encouraging them to pursue a career in the legal profession.
Clarence Wilbon, Partner and Diversity Committee Chair at Adams and Reese remarked, “We are excited to see this program come to fruition and the positive impact it’s having on younger, underrepresented groups in our community. Not only did we see a genuine interest in exploring the legal profession, we also watched these students gain a sense of confidence that will empower them in their professional journeys.”
Suntrease Williams-Maynard, Special Counsel at Adams and Reese, helped launch the firm’s Legal Diversity Pipeline Program. “From the beginning, we wanted these students to walk away feeling inspired to study law and know what steps are needed to enter the legal profession. My colleagues did an excellent job providing a safe space for the students to ask questions and get candid feedback on certain issues. I commend the students for being engaged and for their courage in participating in the Mock Legislative Hearing as this semester comes to a close. We look forward to continuing our work with them.”
Adams and Reese and Street Law have made plans for a second-year program for the LeFlore High School students, which will consist of enhancements ranging from job shadowing, mentoring, and internships.
For more information about any of Street Law, Inc.’s programs, please visit https://www.streetlaw.org/.