High School Law Institute
The High School Law Institute (H.S.L.I.) is a free, yearlong program serving high school students from under-resourced schools throughout New York City. In 2009-2010, 156 students were enrolled in the program, the majority from NYC “zoned” or neighborhood schools. Most of these students do not receive school credit; rather, they are motivated by a desire to learn more about the legal system and to prepare themselves for higher education.
High school students enrolled in the program come to N.Y.U. School of Law on Saturday mornings throughout the year. Free breakfast is provided, as are transportation funds for those students who could not otherwise afford subway fare. Students participate in hour-long classes on criminal law, constitutional law, and mock trial, taught by teams of N.Y.U. law and undergraduate students. Teachers are provided with a detailed curriculum, created by H.S.L.I.’s board members and targeted towards high school students in New York City. Each lesson plan contains discussion questions, background information, classroom activities and homework assignments that can be tailored to fit the interests and experiences of particular classes. Teachers are prepared by a thorough training at the beginning of the year, and are given ongoing support throughout the year.
Learning in the classroom is supplemented by dynamic and engaging guest speakers, lawyers and legal academics in New York who come and share their personal and professional stories with the students. Past speakers have included Bryan Stevenson, N.Y.U. Law Professor of Clinical Law and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative; Paul Samuels, director and president of the Legal Action Center; and Brooke Richie, executive director of the Resilience Advocacy Project.
In addition to time in the classroom, H.S.L.I. organizes two important events throughout the year: College Day and Graduation. In November of each year, H.S.L.I. students and their parents are invited to Columbia Law School, home of N.Y.U. H.S.L.I.’s sister branch, where they attend panels (on topics including financial aid, the admissions process, the freshman experience, and choosing the right school), speak with representatives from colleges from around the country, and take a tour of the college campus. While College Day is an important highlight for many students, ongoing support is provided throughout the year to answer questions and help locate resources for students applying to institutions of higher education. This year, H.S.L.I. board members are also instituting a program to assist students writing their personal statements or other essays as part of college applications.
The year culminates with Graduation, which includes a mock trial competition against the sister branch at Columbia, a keynote speaker, and the presentation of graduation certificates to all the students who satisfied participation requirements. H.S.L.I. board members are currently working on expanding the graduation ceremony to include an opportunity for students to demonstrate their achievements in their criminal law and constitutional law classes.
Are you a high school student interested in our program? Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information for Current HSLI Students
The first day of classes is the first Saturday in October. In 2010, that is October 2.
The HSLI Community
Students, teachers, former teachers, alumni, and parents are invited to join the High School Law Institute Facebook Page to stay in touch and maintain our longstanding friendships.