Advancing Civics Education (“ACE”) is a comprehensive initiative of the Philadelphia Bar Association that seeks to bring volunteer lawyers and judges into Philadelphia public high schools in order to engage in critical thinking about government, law and dispute resolution. The ACE enrichment program complements students’ existing social studies curriculum. The goals of the ACE program include the following:

  • Serving as role models and showing that adults in the community care about students’ success
  • Complementing existing curriculum in 9th grade social studies, or, in some cases, specialized law academy classes
  • Providing an opportunity for more interactive learning environments (small group work, role playing)
  • Encouraging critical thinking about the role of citizens, government and law in society
  • Providing additional support networks to prevent drop outs and encourage responsible decision making
  • Exposing high school students to diverse attorneys, judges and practice areas
  • Introducing some core principles that undergird our Constitutional legal system
  • Reflecting upon power structures at all levels of government, including appropriate methods of dispute resolution
  • Involving Philadelphia attorneys in the day-to-day challenges and successes of the city’s public schools
  • Enlivening the educational experience by linking current events to existing curriculum


Wesley R. Payne, IV
White and Williams LLP
One Liberty Place
1650 Market Street, Suite 1800
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 864-7076

Judge Henry Lewandowski
Philadelphia Municipal Court
1313 Criminal Justice Center
1301 Filbert Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107