Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Who Wants to Be a Lawyer?

The Chicago Bar Association is honored this week to participate in tours of the Daley Center Courthouse in celebration of Black History Month. This week, Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans of the Circuit Court of Cook County is hosting visits by groups of students from Chicago middle and high schools. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak to three groups of students.

I engaged the students in a discussion about the skills that lawyers need to bring home to them that they can become lawyers. “Who likes to argue?” I asked the students. “Who likes to dress up and perform?” “Who likes to write?” These are the kinds of things that lawyers need to like to do, I explained. The students showed a good knowledge about our court system – explaining to me who both Justice Sonya Sotomayor and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor are, and why they are important. I shared with the group the url for Justice O’Connor’s civic education website,, which includes several good computer games designed to teach students about the Constitution, the court system and government.

The session yesterday was hosted by Judge Evans, and the other speakers included Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Judge Leonard Murray, Chair of the Illinois Judicial Council, Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater Chicago President, Tonya Wilkes Moore, and Cook County Bar Association President Lawrence Hill. Later this week, CBA officers Aurora Abella-Austriaco and Dan Cotter, and YLS leaders Jill Eckert McCall and Justin Heather will take turns speaking to the students. The CBA is delighted to be involved in this important civic education program.