DePaul’s Legal Prep volunteer team coaches high school students to success

Law student Alex Sparhawk discusses a negotiation hypothetical with Legal Prep students.
DePaul College of Law volunteers worked closely with high school students from Legal Prep Charter Academy to teach litigation and negotiation skills in a yearlong program developed by the Pro Bono & Community Service Initiative. Law students coached Legal Prep teams for a negotiations competition among classmates and sent qualifiers to a final round event at law firm Kirkland & Ellis. Two Legal Prep students advanced to the final round, earning second place overall.

This is the second consectutive year DePaul has worked with the Legal Prep Charter Academy, the first legal-themed charter high school in Chicago. Located in West Garfield Park, it also serves the surrounding Austin, Lawndale and Humboldt Park communities. Students are exposed to the legal profession while developing skills in communication, critical thinking and advocacy.

DePaul welcomed the opportunity to work directly with these students and pique their interest in the law and legal profession. This year's volunteer team, comprised of students as well as alumni, faculty and staff, met with Legal Prep students monthly to teach a skills lesson and to assist students in working through hypotheticals and practicing for the competition.

Alumna Jessica Schneider (JD '10) facilitates a mock negotiation to prepare Legal Prep students for their upcoming competition.
“Working with students from Legal Prep reminded me why I value education," said second-year student Amanda Moncada, who participated as a volunteer. "Education is a medium through which lives can be transformed. And I saw many of these young scholars transform into well-spoken, intellectually creative, critical thinkers. This observation made my volunteering experience with Legal Prep one certainly worth repeating.” 

Second-year law student Alex Sparkhawk agreed.

“Volunteering for Legal Prep was a truly rewarding experience," he said. "Working with these students and future lawyers really cannot be expressed in words. I was part of a mock trial program in high school which eventually led me to law school. I only hoped that I could spark a light in these students similar to the fire inside me that eventually guided me into the legal career path.”

For more information about DePaul’s Legal Prep Charter Academy volunteer team, please contact Pro Bono & Community Service Initiative Director Cheryl Price at cprice13@depaul.edu.