Law Students - Virtual NCLA Overview

What is the National Civics and Law Academy?

For nearly a decade, the ABA Division for Public Education has hosted the annual National Civics and Law Academy (NCLA), which has provided a special—often life-changing—educational opportunity for a select group of high school students to visit the nation’s capital to learn about law, government, and the justice system in the United States. Students examine public policy issues from diverse perspectives, develop citizenship and leadership skills, and meet peers from throughout the nation. This program has been offered at no-cost to the students. Law students like you can help NCLA continue to engage and inspire students to become the next generation of leaders and lawyers.

What should NCLA Law School Mentors expect?

  • For each cohort of NCLA students, 2-3 law school mentors will be selected from the same geographic region (East, Midwest, West)
  • Law School Mentors will help, with the support of NCLA Staff, facilitate weekly Zoom sessions, including moderating question periods
    • NCLA staff will manage all the scheduling and back-end support
  • Law School Mentors will, as appropriate, facilitate small group virtual discussions with NCLA students after guest speaker presentations
  • Law School Mentors will, as appropriate, respond to email inquiries from NCLA students
  • As appropriate, Law School Mentors may arrange in person meetings with local NCLA students to provide further mentorship and support (any in person meetings would follow necessary local COVID-19 guidance)

How Law Students Can Help?  

Law students can play an invaluable role in NCLA as mentors for each cohort, which would largely involve participating in weekly panel discussions with students and facilitating student interaction. Law students may also interact with students by email throughout the program to help them learn about the legal profession.

Please contact Catherine Hawke (Catherine.hawke@americanbar.org ), Associate Director, Division for Public Education, if you are interested in participating.

2021 Academy – New Virtual Format

The ABA Division for Public Education will hold a re-imagined NCLA in a virtual format in 2021 to continue to follow the original spirit of the NCLA—to give minority and under-resourced high school students a unique opportunity to interact closely with leaders in law and government.

What Will the New Virtual NCLA Include?

  • A series of engaging online conversations between small groups of high school students and lawyers and leaders in government from across the country.
  • Opportunities for diverse and talented students to learn about government, the law, and legal careers.
  • Presentations by accomplished legal professionals—including lawyers, judges, policy advocates, journalists, etc.—to help students understand legal careers and the importance of the law.
  • Opportunities for students to reflect on what they have learned and engage in interactive projects with their peers and legal professionals.

Conversations will last for approximately an hour, allowing time for student questions. Afterward, students will participate in small group discussions (facilitated through the Zoom breakout function) to debrief the session and then return to the larger group discussion to reflect on their takeaways.

What have NCLA students said about their experiences?

My biggest takeaway form the NCLA is that I can accomplish anything.
Luis Sanchez, Anaheim, CA

The NCLA taught me to embrace things that are uncomfortable for you.
Tanner Randall, Norman, OK

Meeting diverse young lawyers affirmed that one day I can also be a young lawyer.
Sofia Dirie, Baltimore, MD