April 12, 2019 - High school students from the Houston area used their newfound legal knowledge and techniques in a mock trial competition during the recent Street Law Day at the University of Houston Law Center.
The Street Law program was established in 2016 by Professor Ellen Marrus, director of the Center for Children, Law & Policy at the Law Center. Over the years it has reached hundreds of students in classes taught by Law Center students.
"These students practiced multiple days a week, so the skill is there," said Marrus, the Royce Till Professor of Law. "Street Law Day is a great opportunity to facilitate all that great potential.
Fourteen teams competed in the mock trials. Participating high schools included the High School for Law and Justice, KIPP Houston, KIPP Northeast, Mickey Leland College Prep and Milby High School.
The championship round of the mock trial competition was held in Krost Hall.
The final defense and prosecution teams were from the High School for Law and Justice, with the defense emerging victorious. The team members were Camille Brown, Maria Ursula Cornejo, Ben Fountain, Fernanda Herrera, Brianna Leos, Kaysha Neville and Deleyni Perez. They were taught by Emily Seaman, a 2L student at the Law Center.
Michelle Moore '06, 314th Juvenile District Court Judge, presided over the championship round.
The Street Law program benefits high schoolers and Law Center students alike. It is designed to get high school students thinking about a college education and beyond, and the possibility of pursuing a career in the law. It also instills a sense of public service and a better understanding of the legislative process.
Marrus said she is proud that the Law Center is the only school in Texas to teach a full year and comprehensive Street Law program to low-income and inner city students.
“Many of these students can’t afford professional dress, so our current law students stepped up and got clothing donations for over 100 kids, correct sizes and everything,” Marrus said.
High school administrators interested in the program may contact Professor Ellen Marrus at firstname.lastname@example.org.