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Students - Virtual NCLA Overview

Virtual National Civics and Law Academy

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.

What will be expected of NCLA 2021 Students?

  • Engage in weekly Zoom sessions with their local cohort for approximately 6 weeks from March through April
  • Weekly sessions will include time for conversation with legal leaders as well as small group debrief and discussion
  • As appropriate, meet with local lawyers and legal professionals as opportunities are presented through NCLA participation (any in person meetings would follow necessary local COVID-19 guidance)

What is the application process for NCLA 2021 Students?

  • All NCLA 2021 students will be nominated by his/her teacher at their school  (Teachers, learn more about the nomination process)
  • Teachers will complete a brief online nomination form
  • Students will be selected to fill slots in defined geographic locations
  • Selected students will be contacted by NLCA staff (with nominating teachers included on the communication) and asked to complete a  brief online form, including a statement of interest and detailing availability and any technology needs or concerns

What is the format of the 2021 Academy?

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