Area high school students honored by Law and Leadership Institute

Twenty local high school students were honored at the Akron Bar Association recently for graduating from the Law and Leadership Institute, a statewide initiative that collaborates with the legal community to prepare high school students from under-served communities for post-secondary and professional success.

The program is a comprehensive, four year academic course in law, leadership, analytical thinking, problem solving, writing skills and professionalism.

In addition to year-round classes on legal and leadership topics, students engage in mock trials, internships at local law firms, ACT preparation class and college tours.

The University of Akron School of Law is the local site for the Institute with support from the Akron Bar Foundation. This is the sixth year Akron has been one of the Law and Leadership sites in Ohio.

The majority of Law and Leadership students from across the state are minorities and many of the students are from low income households.

Ohio State Bar Association member Joann Sahl, director of the program, said the Institute has had remarkable success in graduates attending college—the majority the first of their families to be enrolled in four-year programs.

“The program is as much about getting them ready for college as it is introducing them to law as a career,” said Sahl. “Most of our students are first generation. We are giving them access to all college has to offer, and exposing them to the idea that they can succeed in college.”

“The Law and Leadership Institute was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” said Law and Leadership graduate Imokhai Okolo. “I was introduced to one of my biggest passion—mock trial, and with the help of Law and Leadership, I was able to get into my top choice college—Miami University.”

Also honored were 10th grade students completing a one-week internship at local law firms.

Buckingham Doolittle & Burroughs LLC has been an internships site since the program began.

“The Law and Leadership Program provides us with the unique opportunity to inspire and encourage high school students from under-served communities,” said OSBA member Bill Caplan, Buckingham managing partner, the local law firm that recently hosted two student interns.

“We strongly support the goals of the program, and we have over the years generously given of our time in support of the program,” said Caplan. “The program also allows us to explain to the students why we are proud of our profession, proud of our community, and most proud of Buckingham and its accomplishments over the past century.”

This month, the Law and Leadership class of 2018 began its four-year program. Students from under-served school districts can apply for the program in the spring of their 8th grade year. For more information visit

Content courtesy of Akron Legal News.



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