A high school group’s recent visit to the University of Baltimore School of Law proves the old saying wrong: Youth is hardly wasted on the young—they know what they want, they're determined to get it … and they just proved it by spending time at the law school to find out if the law is for them.
The group of more than 100 students, sponsored by the Washington, D.C.-based National Youth Leadership Forum on Law and Crime Scene Investigation, visited the school on July 18 and 25 to talk with scholars and staff members and learn more about the experience of law school and the profession that lies beyond it.
Claudia Diamond, J.D. '95, director of the Office of Academic Support for the law school, taught a mock class to both groups and also gave them an overview of legal education and answered their many questions about what a law degree can lead to.
"These are some very bright kids who asked me great questions about the learning experience here," Diamond (pictured above and on the home page) said. "They were from all over the country, so their personal backgrounds mattered a lot when it came to their consideration about what life would be like for them if they pursued a legal career. Some were interested in criminal law, while others wanted to know about patent law, torts and things like that. I was highly impressed by their enthusiasm and their depth of knowledge about the law. Every one of them would make an outstanding law student."
The group's area of focus was law and crime scene investigation, which means that in their involvement with the National Youth Leadership Forum they delved into the judicial process, forensics and the like. In addition to their time at UB, they toured a number of prominent law firms in the region, as well as courts and sites of historic interest to potential future lawyers and law enforcement professionals.
Diamond, who also teaches here, said she led the students through a mock class to give them a sense of what it takes to succeed in law school. The students read Gray v. Martino, a 1918 New Jersey case which decided whether a special police officer was entitled to a $500 reward for finding stolen jewelry. Just like a real law school class, the students answered Diamond's questions and eventually were able to articulate the court's ruling that the police officer at the center of the case was not entitled to the reward money because, in his everyday duties, recovering stolen goods was part of his job. The students then were given hypotheticals that asked them to apply the rule. Through this process, they began to understand the many facets of legal interpretation.
"I told them that if there's one thing they have to know about law school, it's that you have to commit to learning, reading, writing and talking about the law every day and every night," Diamond said. "No matter how smart you are, it's not possible to cram for an exam or put off writing a paper until the night before it's due. The best law students pick up on that right away and never forget it."
Learn more about the National Youth Leadership Forum on Law and Crime Scene Investigation.