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The Columbus Bar Foundation Creates Challenge Grant & Columbus Lawyers Are Answering

By Heather Creed on December 9, 2014 - 3:17pm
The Columbus Bar Foundation will match each gift this winter to the Law and Leadership Institute -- dollar for dollar -- up to $20,000.  Several groups of Columbus attorneys already have accepted the Foundation’s challenge.  Lawyers at Vorys Sater Seymour and Pease; Kegler Brown & Ritter; Bricker & Eckler; and Frost Brown Todd were the first to commit and have raised sufficient combined donations to support seven LLI students for a year of academic enrichment studies, thanks to the match.  
 
Carl Smallwood at Vorys (the first President of LLI) said, “It is easy to feel good about giving to a program for high school kids from Columbus’ under-served communities when 100 percent of those completing the four-year program in 2013 and 2014 went to college.  LLI is a bright spot in the sad story of talented young people in these neighborhoods who too often drop out or turn off during high school.”
 
Bricker & Eckler’s Sally Bloomfield, a co-chair of LLI’s Columbus Advisory Committee, noted that the Bricker & Eckler letter requested colleagues to consider a gift of $100.  “Some gave more, but we wanted people to donate an amount that would work for them each year so that attorneys would support LLI in an ongoing basis.” 
 
All of these firms, as well as seven other law firms in Columbus and the Office of the Ohio Attorney General, host LLI interns for four days during the summer between their ninth and tenth grades.  The internships reinforce the students’ career dreams and understanding of what it means to be a professional.  In addition, LLI students spend about 700 hours studying law, writing, analysis, professionalism, ACT test performance, and college opportunities during classes held during the summer and throughout the academic year.
 
Fundraising initiatives are underway as well in the five other Ohio city bars that sponsor the tuition-free LLI programs at the law schools in those cities.  LLI also benefits from major gifts from the Ohio State Bar Foundation and the Law School Admissions Council.  The Supreme Court of Ohio and both U.S. District Courts in Ohio also generously support LLI.
 
Former Procter & Gamble Chief Legal Officer Steve Jemison serves as CEO/President of LLI statewide  declining any compensation. Jemison says, “This is the best way I know for those of us in the legal profession to achieve the change we are seeking.  We’re glad that so many lawyers have embraced this program and helped in any way that they can. Through LLI we can change the profession and the leadership of our community by changing lives, one kid at a time.”
 

Cleveland Friendraiser Provides Opportunity to Educate Business Leaders of LLI's Impact on the Cleveland Community

By Heather Creed on December 9, 2014 - 2:59pm
On October 15, LLI Board members Hugh McKay (Porter Wright) and Paul Harris (Key Bank) hosted a first ever “Friendraiser” for LLI at the Cleveland offices of Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP.  The event was attended by about a dozen of Cleveland’s most influential business and civic leaders.  Steve Jemison, LLI CEO, Heather Creed, LLI COO, and Donna Davis-Reddix, Assistant Dean of Career Development at Case Western Reserve University School of Law and LLI Site Administrator for Cleveland’s 10th-12th grades, represented LLI at the evening event.
 
Beyond raising awareness about LLI, the event resulted in a highly interactive discussion about the program and the critical importance of improving diversity and inspiring underserved youth.  Additionally, the group discussed ideas of potential collaborations with other organizations. As attendee David Hooker, a partner with Thompson Hine, said, “LLI is running innovative programs in Ohio high schools to ensure that students get exposed to the practice of law at a time when they are thinking of their future careers. It’s important for those of us who practice law today to help future generations see the benefits of being part of our profession. Thompson Hine is proud to be a sponsor of LLI.”
 
Says Hugh McKay about the Friendraiser “I was struck by the great turnout of local leaders of the legal and civic communities and their positive energy and support for the mission of LLI”.   Of course, besides raising awareness and new friends for LLI, the event was also successful in raising new funds for the program.  Thanks to Hugh and Paul for spearheading a wonderful event!
 

Ohio State Buckeyes: Past and Present

By Heather Creed on December 9, 2014 - 1:56pm
Alaina Durden graduated from LLI Toledo in 2014 and now attends The Ohio State University. Below is a Q&A session with Alaina and current LLI OSU instructor Carlisha Powell.

Q: What do you think you might want to be your major and why?
A: I will be majoring in athletic training because I plan on becoming a head team physician for a professional sports team. Athletic training will allow me to study the anatomy and treatment I will need when acting as a sports-care physician. I enjoy sports as well as helping people in need.  Anatomy and physiology are very intriguing so this career path should be a good fit for me. I am very interested in medicine, and would love to combine medicine and sports.
 
Q: How did you ultimately decide that you wanted to attend this school?
A: I chose The Ohio State University because, while visiting the campus, I didn’t feel like a visitor. I felt as though I was a part of the Buckeye family because of how welcoming and inclusive the school is.  I was granted a tuition-paid scholarship for the next four years and that became the deciding factor that led me to select The Ohio State University as my new temporary home. I know that Ohio State has outstanding academics and a campus in which everyone can be involved in something they are interested in.  For these reasons, I decided OSU was the best choice for me. 
 
Q: How would you describe your LLI experience? 
A: My LLI experience was wonderful. I met so many people during the first year who are still close friends today. I learned about the law and am very appreciative to my teachers who assisted me as well as my parents for sending me to LLI in the first place. LLI taught me how to articulate my thoughts and opinions better, how to be professional, how to speak in front of large crowds, how to work with people who have different beliefs than I, how to mediate disagreements, and so much more. LLI allowed me to gain knowledge I would have otherwise had to wait 5-6 years to learn. LLI was extremely beneficial, fun, and educational.
 
Q: How do you think that your experience with LLI has helped to prepare you for college?
A: My experience with LLI helped prepare me for college in many ways. Our sophomore year, we completed internships with various law firms and government agencies that taught me professionalism and independence. Going on college tours was beneficial because I was able to figure out what characteristics and qualities to look for when choosing a school. Taking the practice ACT definitely helped me know what to expect when taking the real test and ultimately was the reason for my high score. If it wasn’t for the practice testing at LLI, I would not have been eligible to apply for the tuition-paid scholarship I received from Ohio State. I also learned basic concepts of law and studied various cases that can benefit me in college classes. Most of all, I learned how to work with physically and mentally diverse people, which is a skill that will be needed in college. 
 
Q: What advice would you give to current LLI juniors and seniors who will soon be applying to college?
A: I would advise the current LLI juniors and seniors to take the practice ACT seriously and to use the book that is provided by LLI to study at home. Also, if you are visiting a college that you may be interested in attending, do not hesitate to ask as many questions as possible so you will know whether or not that school is the right one for you.


And now, a Q&A session with LLI OSU instructor Carlisha Powell

Carlisha Powell was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. She has a fraternal twin sister and is the second of her mother’s three children and also the second of her father’s nine children. Her father's family relocated to Los Angeles, California, which is where she spent all of her childhood summers. When she was in the sixth grade she was accepted into Ohio State's Young Scholars Program, which awards students who complete the program with a scholarship package that covers the cost of tuition as well as room and board. She graduated from Walnut Hills High School in 2009, and then went on to The Ohio State University. Carlisha is currently a rising 2L at Moritz College of Law. This past summer, Carlisha taught 10th graders in Columbus during the LLI Summer Institute.
 
Q: When did you graduate from your alma mater and what was your major?
A: I graduated from The Ohio State University in May 2013. I graduated with my B.A. in Political Science and Criminology/Criminal Justice Studies. 
 
Q: How would you describe your experience at your alma mater?  
A: My experience at OSU was definitely a growing up exercise. I was not immature going into college but it was the first time I was independent, in a sense. I had to learn to take care of my business, learn the importance of timeliness and time management and how to prioritize! I feel that other than applying for colleges/universities and scholarships during senior year, these three skills are not exactly stressed throughout high school. As much as I learned and grew up during my four years at OSU, I also had a lot of fun, in class and outside of the classroom. I definitely enjoyed my time as an undergrad, getting involved in organizations, taking some interesting classes senior year, and experiencing “campus life.”
 
Q: Did you enjoy living in Columbus during college?  Why or why not?
A: I enjoyed my time in Columbus while at Ohio State, even though I did not get out into the city as much as I could have. I did not know much about the City outside of campus during my first few years. Now, Ohio State is part of a program that introduces students to the City of Columbus during orientation week, because students were not getting out as much as they could have.
 
Q: What were your favorite things to do on campus?
A: My favorite thing to do on campus was going to the stadium for football games on Saturdays! The campus -and city- pretty much stops for Buckeye football!  During the rest of the school year, I liked to take advantage of “D-Tix,” which is a discount ticket service for Ohio State students. Students can get discounted prices or free tickets for things like concerts coming to Columbus, the Columbus Zoo, Cedar Point, the Clippers (minor league baseball) or Crew (major league soccer) games. Using D-Tix, I was able to hear Dr. Maya Angelou (RIP) speak about her life, go to a Drake concert free, and get student prices for the Ohio State Fair. There is no shortage of things to do on or near campus and D-Tix usually has tickets for students.
 
Q: What are the top three restaurants on or near campus?
A: The three best restaurants near campus are Cane's (the chicken tenders are good but it's all about the sauce!), Thurman's Café (about 15 minutes from campus and famous for their oversized burgers), and Bistro 2110, which is a restaurant inside the Blackwell Hotel on campus. The restaurant is fine dining but the best part about it is that it accepts “blocks” from student meal plans. Usually at the end of the semester students will take their unused blocks and treat themselves to some fine dining instead of the regular dining hall food. 
 
Q: How do you think that the LLI experience will prepare our graduates for college?
A: LLI prepares its graduates for college by allowing them to gain experience and get comfortable working in a high-expectation environment. College is a place where only your best efforts are acceptable. Students who can quickly adapt to the pace and expectations of a college course are not going to fail due to falling behind, they already know how to work and achieve in this setting. More practically, LLI students improve their writing, public speaking, and research skills throughout the four years in the program. Learning how to write and research at a college level while still in high school is an advantage not many students have.  LLI is an amazing opportunity that prepares its students well for their undergraduate and graduate school careers.  
 
Q: What advice would you give to current LLI Juniors and Seniors who are about to apply to college?
A: My advice to current LLI Juniors and Seniors goes back to what I said about timeliness, time management, and priorities. Be mindful of deadlines: missing them can result in unnecessary late fees or not being able to apply at all.  Also, realize how great an opportunity LLI is!  Right now I am sure you all are looking for a job or working.  But LLI, college, and scholarship opportunities should be top priorities. Lastly, learn how to manage all of your commitments -- from school and classes to work and any extracurriculars.

Groundbreaking Supreme Court Litigant Meets with LLI

By Heather Creed on December 8, 2014 - 2:28pm
The Law and Leadership Institute kicked off the academic year on September 20th with a statewide event featuring Mary Beth Tinker, the lead plaintiff in the landmark First Amendment Free Speech case Tinker v. Des Moines.  Five LLI sites convened at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law in Columbus while the other three LLI sites participated via live stream.  “It was a special opportunity to bring together LLI students statewide – to not only see that they are part of a program bigger than any one site, but also to have the experience of hearing directly from a person who was part of making history,” said LLI COO, Heather Creed.  “Ms. Tinker was a teenager herself when she took a stand that made a huge impact.  We want our students to see they can be leaders in their schools and communities even now.”
 
The students started the day by reviewing the case stemming from Ms. Tinker’s decision to wear an armband protesting the Vietnam War in spite of the school board’s decision that students wearing arm bands would be suspended.  “Before hearing from Mary Beth Tinker, LLI students discussed the reasoning and holding of the Tinker case, as compared to the Morse, Killion, and West cases.  Students debated whether children should in fact have the same free speech rights as adults, and discussed what showing is required for school officials to suppress free speech,” said LLI Program Director, Rachel Wilson.  The Tinker case worked its way up to the United States Supreme Court where the Court famously held, "Students don't shed their constitutional rights at the school house gates."
 
Ms. Tinker’s talk was nothing short of inspiring.  She reflected on her own experience observing her parents participate in the Civil Rights movement and encouraged students to stand up for what they believe to be important. Ms. Tinker shared, "It was wonderful to be with the students, whose energy and enthusiasm are so contagious!  We had a great time discussing past and current legal issues, as well as what a good life it is to stand up, and speak up for a better world.  I was excited to hear how the students are already doing that.  So, thanks, LLI -   Here's to democracy, and to students who bring it to life!"

LLI is extremely grateful to the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio and the Ohio Center for Law Related Education for bringing Ms. Tinker to Ohio and arranging for her to address our students.  It was an experience they will not soon forget.
 

LLI Columbus Graduate Spotlight: Melvin Smith-Williams

By Heather Creed on December 8, 2014 - 2:20pm
Cities: 
Melvin Smith-Williams graduated from Columbus Eastmoor Academy High School, where he was part of the Senior Senate, the Gentlemen Club, the International Club, and the track and field team.  He was actively involved with the Law and Leadership Institute for four years, learning about both criminal and civil law and participating in internships at local law firms. He is currently a first-year student at the University of Akron and his goal is to become a lawyer.
 
Q: What do you think you might want to major in at the University of Akron and why?
A: I am currently majoring in Political Science because I want to be part of a group that helps improve the law for our country. My plan is to go to law school at The Ohio State University.
 
Q: How would you describe your first couple of weeks at the University of Akron?  
A: I am in my 10th week here at the University of Akon and I have been busy.  Every single day has been stressful. The course work is draining and time consuming. I attend lectures by my professors three days a week and have an exam every two weeks. The course work is challenging, but it is achievable.
 
Q: What classes are you currently taking?
A: I am currently taking Government and Politics, Introduction to Sociology, Excursions in Math, Akron Experience, and Basic Writing.
 
Q: Do you plan to get involved in extra-curricular activities?
A: Yes, I am involved in Residence Hall government here on campus; I am one of the future leaders for my residence hall. My position is a representative and I plan on applying for a Resident Assistant (RA) position for the spring semester.
 
Q How did you ultimately decide where you wanted to attend college?
A: I visited University of Akron five times before I knew this was the school for me. I took one trip with the Law and Leadership Program and the other four with my mother. As I explored campus, the environment seemed just right for me. The service on campus was amazing. I felt like I could make this city and university my home for the next four years and that’s what I plan to do.
 
Q: How would you describe your LLI experience?
A: My LLI experience has truly been an eye opener. I have had meaningful, hands-on experience in a field in which I want to have a career.  For instance, being able to sit in on a criminal docket and listen to different cases and see how Judge Greene ruled on each case flattered me. Through this program, I have absorbed every opportunity that I had in front of me.
 
Q: How do you think your experience with LLI has prepared you for college?
A: I remember when I was sitting in class, and doing ACT and SAT practice tests. This program taught me how to think critically and analyze concepts in more detail. I have gained confidence in how I present myself in front of a class or anyone that I am trying to impress. All of these concepts I use to this day in college. I will always know that the LLI program changed my life.  I am well prepared for any challenge that may present itself. I will never be blinded by my education because I know that I came from a great program and institution, where I was taught how to strive and pull through any situation.
 
Q: What advice would you give to LLI juniors and seniors who will soon be applying for college?
A: My number one advice is to apply for as many scholarships as possible because college is too expensive. Nobody wants debt.  My second piece of advice is to visit all the schools you get accepted to, so you have an understanding of what school will make a great fit for you.
 

LLI Student's Hardwork and Dedication Inspires Cincinnati Instructor

By Heather Creed on December 8, 2014 - 2:04pm
Cities: 
By Guest Author William Prest, Cincinnati Instructor

Teachers and administrators alike share in the LLI goal - to inspire and prepare students from underserved communities for post-secondary success.  But, as you can imagine, the LLI scholars are often the ones inspiring us.  In Cincinnati, and statewide, we are lucky to work with hardworking, dedicated, and influential young people.  In addition to excelling at the curriculum, Nadiya Pope (12th grade student) has demonstrated outstanding leadership and passion for legal studies. 
 
Nadiya first became involved in LLI through the recommendation of her mother, who felt that Nadiya might be interested in a legal education.  During her first year with LLI, Nadiya loved that she was able to soak up valuable legal information from her teachers and gain practical experience through her participation in mock trial. Nadiya’s most rewarding experience came during her second year with the program when she was placed in a legal internship, which allowed her to more effectively evaluate the legal field when considering her future career choices. After her internship, Nadiya’s interest in the law was greater than ever. She came away with a focus on contract law and hopes to one day become a corporate attorney.  Despite these rewarding experiences in her freshman and sophomore years, Nadiya says that her favorite year with LLI was her senior year. This year, Nadiya learned even more about the law and college preparation. Nadia feels that the information that she learned about student loans and credit card debt will prove invaluable to her in the future.
 
When considering which skills taught in LLI she would find the most useful, Nadiya credited professionalism. She recognizes the importance of always presenting herself in a professional way, both in her actions as well as her appearance.  She believes that this knowledge will give her a leg up as she enters the business world.  When not at LLI, Nadiya enjoys volleyball, track, show choir and church choir, all while taking as many AP and honors classes as she can. Her goals after graduation are to attend college on a track and academic scholarship while majoring in political science with a minor in anthropology. After graduation, Nadiya still hopes to remain involved in the LLI program to ensure its continued growth and development.
 
Nadiya is merely a sample of the fantastic student body that we at LLI are fortunate to instruct. We wish all of our graduates the best during their senior year and are confident that these young people are equipped with the tools to maximize their great potential.
 

The 10th Grade Internship | A Week in the Life of an Attorney

By Heather Creed on December 8, 2014 - 1:57pm
By Guest Author Stephen Doyle, LLI Cincinnati Instructor 

Each summer, tenth grade students have the opportunity to conclude their LLI program by interning with local law firms and government agencies. Out of the entire LLI program, this week continues to have a lasting impact on the students. At this stage in the students’ lives, they want nothing more than to be treated as an adult and the internship offers the students an opportunity to observe a week in the life of an attorney. Importantly, the students are able to apply their LLI classroom skills to real-world experiences.  They gain valuable experience and make connections in the legal community. For many, this opportunity solidifies their interest in pursuing a career as an attorney.  As Yaw Asante, a 10th grade student in Cincinnati, explained, “The internship itself provides experience with immeasurable benefit, integral subject matter in regard to one’s future career, and a detailed look into the professional legal space.”
 
As for the students that have no desire to become an attorney or are undecided, they still acquire valuable knowledge and experience through the internship that they can apply to their future endeavors.  Zara Houser, also a 10th grade student in LLI Cincinnati, stated, “The intern experience was amazing. I got to meet different people who gave me a lot of tools to apply throughout life.” In addition, the internship provides students with a chance to create a lasting relationship with local attorneys, a valuable networking opportunity that most of their peers will never experience before enrolling in college or entering the job market. Overall, this experience provides boundless opportunities for the students and is the week students often reflect on as the most impactful week of the Law and Leadership Institute. “I wish I could have another chance to intern. I really learned a lot and enjoyed every part of it,” commented 10th grade Cincinnati student Michel Curry.
 

LLI Akron Student Selected to Serve on Youth Council Designed to Give Youth a Voice in the Community

By Heather Creed on November 12, 2014 - 3:23pm
Cities: 
Marion Wilson, an LLI Akron student, was recently chosen to serve on the newly formed Akron City Youth Council. The 11th grader was chosen to serve on the council designed to provide a voice for youth in the community.
 
Marion came to LLI as a shy 9th grade student. Now, he serves on the mock trial team and has been selected for this honor. Congratulations Marion!

To view a recent news story that features Marion discussing the Akron City Youth Council, click here.   
 

Continuing What LLI Started

By Heather Creed on September 23, 2014 - 9:39am
Imokhai Okolo graduated from the Akron LLI Program in 2013. Currently a sophomore at Miami University, Imokhai said his experience in LLI, particularly his internship with Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs, helped to solidify his goal of becoming an attorney. 
 
“In my tenth grade year, I was for sure that I wanted to be an attorney and (interning for) Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs really enhanced my passion and love to be an attorney,” he said. “It was a great experience and interesting to see the behind the scenes work of attorneys.”
 
During his internship, Imokhai particularly enjoyed sitting in on a deposition for a malpractice case. 
 
Now in his second year at college double majoring in political science and business legal studies, Imokhai said he is continuing his passion for the law by participating in mock trial. One of the premier undergraduate mock trial programs in the country, for the past ten years, Miami Mock Trial has been ranked in the top 10 of the more than 350 colleges and universities that compete in collegiate mock trial. Competing as a freshman in such a storied program is unusual and speaks to Imokhai’s preparation and passion.
 
“I was definitely introduced to mock trial through LLI and it’s one of my passions,” he said. “Miami University is definitely a premier school for mock trial and it’s been a great experience.”

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