Thursday, July 26, 2001
16 High Schoolers From Around State Get a Taste of Life as a Lawyer, Judge
By DAVID KLINE
SACRAMENTO (CAPITOL)—Sixteen high school students from around the state are roving the capital this week for a whirlwind introduction to the world of lawyers and judges.
The students, all about to enter their senior year, are taking part in the Legal Heritage Institute, a program sponsored by the Foundation of the State Bar of California.
“It’s a different kind of summer camp,” foundation President Pauline Gee said.
Yesterday, the students sat in on a criminal trial in Sacramento Superior Court, toured the chambers of U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton and learned about courtroom procedures from Placer Superior Court Judge James Garbolino.
Today’s schedule includes a meeting with Burt Pines, the governor’s judicial appointments secretary.
“It’s definitely better than sitting in a classroom reading things,” Caley Anderson, a student at Santana High School, in Santee, said.
Rakesh Raghuwanshi, an aspiring district attorney from Ventura’s Buena High School, agreed.
“I’ve learned a lot about how the law works,” Raghuwanshi commented after a question-and-answer session with U.S. District Court Judge David Levi.
Levi explained federal sentencing guidelines and general courtroom procedure, and jokingly warned the students that questions about the guidelines would appear on their SATs.
The questions addressed to Levi evidenced that Raghuwanshi, who participates in his school’s mock trial program, and the other students already have a solid understanding of many aspects of jurisprudence.
Still, the judge enjoyed poking a little fun at his audience. After fielding a question on judicial activism, Levi smiled and told one student, “I thought that was a pretty sprightly answer, I don’t think it deserved that yawn!”
Gee, a deputy state attorney general, stood as the student’s defense witness, telling Levi the 11 girls and five boys woke up at 7 a.m. each day and were up kept up late for entertainment—including a viewing of “Twelve Angry Men” on the program’s first night—as part of the program’s requirements.
“My son just finished his junior year, so I have a general sense of your nocturnal life,” Levi said.
The Legal Heritage Institute, which began Sunday and ends Saturday morning, is a new program designed to promote legal literacy. Participants were selected based on a statewide essay contest. After completing the program, students will receive high school credits and college scholarships, provided by the Foundation of the State Bar using voluntary contributions from lawyers.
Some of the students said they were interested in the law but weren’t sure whether they would pursue a career in the field.
But Janet Sandor, of Stockton’s Lincoln High School, seemed to have her mind made up. Responding to a comment on the scarcity of women in the federal courts, Sandor remarked, “Just give me another 30 years!”
Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company