Monday, August 18, 2008
Loyola Program Receives ABA Public Interest Award
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Loyola Law School announced Friday that the American Bar Association has awarded Loyola’s Judge Stephen O’Neil Trial Advocacy Mentoring Program the 2008 Judy M. Weightman Award.
The mentoring initiative, which is also known as the Young Lawyers Program, stages mock trials before Los Angeles Superior Court judges with the goal of exposing “at-risk youth of color to the benefits of obtaining an advanced degree.”
The ABA bestows the Judy M. Weightman Award annually on law student programs making outstanding contributions to underrepresented groups or public interest causes outside of law school.
Established in 2000 by Loyola’s La Raza student group and Black Law Students Association, the initiative is named after the late Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephen O’Neil, who served as judge for the mock trial during the initiative’s first two years.
Professors Gary Williams and Brietta Clark advise law students who plan the program, recruit high school students, teach lessons, select the trial problem and coach trial teams.
Each Thursday of the spring semester, Loyola law students teach initiative participants an array of legal skills including witness preparation; conducting direct and cross examination; handling evidence issues; and presenting opening statements and closing arguments.
Judges before whom this year’s mock trial was held included Judges John Meigs, a 1978 Loyola alumnus, Terry Smerling and Alan B. Honeycutt.
“This program is a great example of what Loyola Law School is all about—combining excellence in education with devotion to public service,” Loyola Dean Victor Gold said. “Steve O’Neil would be proud.”
Copyright 2008, Metropolitan News Company