Volunteer lawyers of all ages are needed to offer free legal advice, visit high school classes, guide children on tours of the city's courtrooms, and present mock criminal trials for grade school students in celebration of Law Week 2012, an annual occasion marked by the Philadelphia Bar Association and presented by its Young Lawyers Division through a host of special events and services reaching thousands of citizens. This year's theme is "No Courts, No Justice, No Freedom."
The weeklong fest, taking place April 30 - May 4, is one of the most ambitious public outreach efforts of its type in the nation. All of the Law Week activities are under the direction of Bar Association Chancellor-Elect Kathleen Wilkinson and are coordinated by the Association's Young Lawyers Division with the help of scores of lawyer-volunteers. The Law Week 2012 co-chairs are Roxane Crowley and Matt Laver.
The following is a schedule of Law Week activities and contact information for those interested in volunteering:
Legal Advice Live!, Monday, April 30
LAL! kicks off the week with dozens of Philadelphia attorneys gathering to provide free, in-person legal advice from 12 to 2 p.m. at various branches of the Philadelphia Library, including the Central branch. Attorneys will provide answers to legal questions on a broad range of topics including personal injury, medical malpractice, landlord/tenant law, divorce and child custody matters, wills and estate planning, real estate law and employment law.
Lawyer in the Classroom, Tuesday, May 1, through Thursday, May 3
This program features lawyers enthusiastically visiting different schools throughout the week to address students' concerns about the law and the legal issues that affect them as they enter adulthood and answer questions about the legal profession.
LegalLine, Wednesday, May 2
Free legal advice will be given to those who call the Legal Line hotline from 5 to 8 p.m. on May 2. Area residents can call lawyers at 215-238-6333 and have their legal questions answered confidentially without a fee. The lawyers will staff a phone bank at the headquarters of the Philadelphia Bar Association, 1101 Market Street, 11th Floor.
If you are interested in volunteering for Legal Line, please contact Melanie Taylor.
Lawyer for a Day, Friday, May 4
Volunteer attorneys and judges pair with high school students and "show them the ropes" of their jobs by taking them into the courts during the Lawyer for a Day program. Several city courtrooms will be open to allow the participants to observe the proceedings. The students will meet the lawyers and judges and will participate in a concluding lunch, during which the students will recount their experiences and hear from a special guest speaker.
If you are interested in volunteering for Lawyer for a Day, please contact Shabrei Parker.
"Goldilocks," "The Big Bad Wolf" and "Jack and the Beanstalk" Mock Trials, Friday, May 4
Volunteer attorneys will use the facts of the well-known fairytales "Goldilocks," "Jack and the Beanstalk" and "The Three Little Pigs" as the basis for mock criminal trials during the "Trials of Goldilocks" and the "Big Bad Wolf" program, taking place at City Hall courtrooms. Volunteers will act as prosecutors, defense attorneys and witnesses in the criminal trials, which include opening statements, examinations and cross-examinations of witnesses, closing arguments, and instructions of the juries. At the conclusion of each trial, the students act as the jury and determine whether the Big Bad Wolf or Goldilocks is guilty of a crime.
Poster and Essay Contests
The 2012 Edward F. Chacker Essay Contest is named former Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor Edward F. Chacker and offers a $1,000 college scholarship to High School Seniors who attend public, parochial, charter or private schools in Philadelphia.
The 2012 Poster Contest is open to 4th, 5th and 6th grade students from Philadelphia public, private, charter and parochial schools.
For more information on both contests, click here.