This year, the Judicial Division’s Standing Committee on Diversity in the Judiciary (SCDJ) conducted its usual Youth Outreach Program during the 2021 ABA Annual Meeting. This virtual afternoon Outreach event involved Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s program called One Summer Chicago. It provides training, skills, and jobs for young people in the city. There are literally dozens of Chicago non-profit organizations in this program.
The JD Outreach event included at least 200 young adults and students and about two dozen judges, many judges participating the first time in our Youth Outreach Program. The diverse group of judges, from all over the nation and in a wide variety of tribunals, used the JD Judicial Outreach Network’s Preserving the Rule of Law presentation materials to start the program. The judges, working in pairs with a smaller group of students, briefly spoke of their backgrounds, law school experiences, and paths to the bench.
We invited questions and comments from the students. Most judges reported on a very lively breakout session with insightful, thoughtful questions, reflecting how much young people enjoy and appreciate this contact with judges. Their questions were very poignant ranging from our greatest accomplishments to our most unique cases. Our goal, as always, was to encourage young people to consider a career in the legal profession and learning more about a possible path to the judiciary. The SCDJ always welcomes more JD members to volunteer for this Youth Outreach Program during every ABA Annual and Midyear Meeting. We learn as much from the students as they learn from us.