Attorney volunteers from ComEd and Foley lead students in mock trial, give exposure to legal careers.
Students at Paul Cuffe Math Science & Technology Academy on Chicago’s South Side today experienced a real-life “Law & Order” lesson through a popular mentoring program run by the Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago with volunteers from ComEd and Foley.
For the second consecutive year, 20 volunteer attorneys from ComEd and Foley worked with 52 seventh and eighth grade Cuffe students to conduct a student-led mock trial. The volunteers spent two training sessions at Cuffe preparing the students to present and defend a teen drunk-driving case. Foley hosted the mock trial on Oct. 7 in a simulated courtroom at their downtown offices.
Ald. Howard B. Brookins Jr., whose ward includes the Auburn-Gresham community where Cuffe is located, stopped by to view the mock trial and speak with the students. Brookins also is an attorney.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for you to see the process at work,” said Brookins, addressing the students. “There is a lawyer behind every profession, helping businesses navigate the legal system and create contracts. This is a real-life, every day experience and thank you for participating.”
The mock trial program is part of the Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago’s “Edward J. Lewis II Lawyers in the Classroom” program, in which lawyers from ComEd and Foley have participated for the past several years. The mock trial was conceived for the students at Cuffe to supplement their civics education by emphasizing the legal process, highlighting how cases come to trial, and learning what happens in the courtroom.
Before the start of the mock trial, the participating students were welcomed by Paul F. Hanzlik, a partner with Foley, and Darryl Bradford, senior vice president and general counsel at ComEd. Both stressed to the students the importance of understanding their constitutional rights and the importance of education.
“We are excited to be part of the Constitutional Rights Foundation project and to provide this experience to Cuffe students. We want to give them a behind-the-scenes view into the judicial system and possibly even lead them to a career path that focuses on law,” said Bradford.
‘Working with the students from Cuffe is an exciting experience for the volunteers from Foley and ComEd,” said Hanzlik. “It gives all of us the opportunity to speak with the students and explain to them how laws are made and enforced and it also allows the students to learn firsthand from active professionals in the legal community.”
ComEd supports a variety of educational programs throughout its service territory encouraging unique learning experiences and career-focused development.
“It was great! This program gave me an opportunity to see the process. I plan to be a lawyer,” said Chasity Wells. Classmate Nakiya Walters added, “I liked it too. It showed how different TV is from a real life experience. It will help us decide what we want to be.” Both Wells and Walters are eighth grade students at Cuffe and 13 years old.
Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), one of the nation’s largest electric utilities with approximately 5.4 million customers. ComEd provides service to approximately 3.8 million customers across Northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population.
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