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Lawyers in the classroom

​​​Each year the Pro Bono & Community Service Initiative partners with the Constitutional Rights Foundation of Chicago and A.N. Pritzker Elementary School to run the Lawyers in the Classroom Program. For one week each semester, law students, faculty and staff volunteer to visit Pritzker and teach middle school classes a one-hour lesson on the U.S. Constitution and other legal principles. It is always a big hit with both the middle school students and law school volunteers!

One of the lessons, entitled “No Weapons Allowed,” gives the middle school students the opportunity to discern the difference between the “spirit of the law” and the “black letter law.” After the students talk in a large group about the overall rule, they then break up into smaller groups, led by the law student volunteers, to apply what they have learned to several hypotheticals. For every lesson, the middle school students get the chance to learn a basic constitutional law concept and an opportunity to apply the concept to different fact scenarios.

The volunteer experience is a very fulfilling one for both the middle school and law school students. As Anne Marie Knisley (JD, Class of 2018) put it, “This was an excellent opportunity to interact with students and help increase their knowledge and awareness about the justice system. For law students, it’s a great opportunity to speak to a group and practice skills we are learning.” Edward O’Neill (JD, Class of 2018) added, “It was an excellent exercise to help the kids think outside the box and approach issues in a different light.”

DePaul will return to Pritzker during the spring semester to teach additional lessons and build on some of the legal principles discussed in classrooms this fall.​